Top Ten Humorous Moments in El Salvador

For all of the emotional moments we had on the trip, there were a lot of funny ones, too. Here’s a little bit of levity from my eyes. I encourage others on the trip to share some of their favorites, too, and hopefully those will appear in the comments. Here are ten funny moments I experienced on the trip to El Salvador, all off the top of my head and in no particular order:

“I need you to take your seat, ma’am.”

Professor Chris engendered some impatience more than once and from more than one flight attendant on the flight down as she tried to take a head count. Their collective air of pleasant sternness finally got her to sit down so we could take off. Don’t worry, Chris, we all made it to El Salvador safely! :)

“I have no ******* idea what you’re saying, man.”

While listening to President Funes speak, a man kept giving me a big smirk until I finally engaged him. He said something to me in seemingly complicated Spanish and I attempted to respond back, saying “Hola, como es ta?” He looked at me a long time and with a burst of liquor breath said, “Pfft. I have no ******* idea what you’re saying man.” Turns out he spoke English and from our short conversation I think he had lived in the US a whle. I know my Spanish, what exists of it anyway, is horrible, but it was a moment of surprise, nonetheless.

“Say cheese… WHOA!” Continue reading

El Salvador Day 06 – The Grave of Father Grande and the Emotional Arena

So much to write, yet I have to be kind to myself and actually get some sleep. An unfortunate side effect of electing to be the trip blogger is that my nights are often early. I hope you’ll afford me this gift and perhaps upon our return, my traveling companions can fill in more details in the comments section, something which they’ll hopefully do throughout the blog in the days after our trip.

Also, if you haven’t seen the contest I’m running, look for the post called “Contest: Globalization at What Price?” for more information on how you can win a free book just by leaving us a comment.

And with that, on to today…

Traveler’s Truth II

Oh, I feel better. Now hear this, students considering coming on one of these trips: bring Cipro. When TDI strikes, it’s the best remedy, aside from eating a ton of bread and bananas. And if you’re not stricken with TDI, well as the French say, “C’est la vie.” Or as the El Salvadorians say, “Something in Spanish.”

On the Road (From La Palma)

Sorry, dear reader, but as much as I said I hoped I’d be awake and able to tell you all about the beautiful scenery, I indeed slept for much of the way. What time wasn’t spent sleeping was speaking with Professor Chris on the bus. She and I had a wonderful dialog about my future plans, the Church, camping ministry, and choosing kindness over cynicism. Close friends know what likely spurred that part of the conversation and perhaps I’ll have time this week to expound on it. It’s not a secret, I’m just too tired and it’s a tale that I feel is worth spending time crafting. I’ll just say that, for the past two months, Continue reading

El Salvador Day 05 – The Truth of Travel, Meet the Police, and La Palma’s Art Scene

We’ve just past the halfway point of our journey, dear reader. Today we traveled to La Palma and are staying in an immaculate lodge for the evening. Here’s the story…

Traveler’s Truth

Okay, this blog is an honest retelling of our travels, and that means the good and the not-so good. In this spirit, I must say that after four days of relative health I have been stricken with what I’ll codename “traveler’s digestion issues.” It’s a bummer and it was the first health issue listed on our pre-trip literature from the Center for Global Education in terms of what we may face. To put things in perspective, although I’d prefer not to have TDI, it’s better than one of the other possible ailments listed: malaria.

So I took some cipro and have been on a bread and banana diet all day. It was hard at dinner tonight because everyone’s dish – either chicken alfredo or sea bass and rice – looked so delicious. But I’m hoping things will be cleared up soon. I learned I’m not the only one to be stricken with TDI but we’re all in this together, helping each other make sure we’re drinking water and eating the right foods. And I must say, so long as one is proactive about dealing with the ailment, it can be relatively contained. It has left me tired and dehydrated but everyone’s been great about getting me water and checking in with me to make sure I’m not pushing myself beyond my limits. So to this end, it’s yet another community-building exercise for me and the nameless others afflicted.

The Brief History of the Dead

We first went to Monumento A la Memoria Y La Verdad, a memorial which invokes the Vietnam Memorial wall in the US but instead of listings soldiers it lists innocents. A foundation which works to find lost children was part of the collective who put together this forty-seven panel wall filled with names of those who were murdered or who were disappeared from the late 1970s through the end of the civil war in 1992. Families could pay around $3 to have their loved ones’ names put on the wall and beyond the names are a few panels of three-dimensional sculpture of the people, their suffering, and rise above the war.

The group was appropriately stoic in the presence of thousands of names, some of which were denoted by flowers taped up to the wall, roses laid on the ground, and a few names which were colored in red marker. The six Jesuit priests were on the wall, as was Romero. He’s not listed as monsignor or bishop or archbishop but just his full name, like all of the rest of the people. It’s solidarity in stone. The only difference is his name has visibly been worn down just a tad from people reaching out to Continue reading