El Salvador Day 07 – A March, Some Pottery, a Nun, and Karaoke

Update: I’ve added photos so take a look!

Today was yet another full day yet I must be brief if I’m to have any energy left for our final day in El Salvador tomorrow. So much has happened here and it’s hard to believe Thursday is our final full day before we pack up and head out early Friday. I’m still having trouble uploading photos. Well, I found a way, but it would be one at a time and it’s simply too late in the night, I’m sorry.You’ll have to remain content with my written ramblings until I find an easier way to reinstate photos in the new posts.

Here’s the scoop, dear reader…

Weighing Our Options

Today was the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Monsignor Oscar Romero. We began the morning by bussing out to the chapel where Romero was shot through the heart and found the entire chapel and plaza completely full. A worship service went on as we shopped, rested, and prepared for a march during the day – a big difference from marching in the cool of the evening as we did on Friday night.

Before we left the guest house, however, we examined our options for the day: march the whole march, join in late, start it and end early, or whatever else was on the table. We chose to start it and see what happens, as Christina felt it was important for us to see the full chapel. It turned out to be the right decision, too, as we had a chance to purchase flags, bandannas, and other memorabilia with Romero’s visage gracing it. Plus, I got the chance to meet a Deputy, a Senator in the National Assembly of El Salvador. A man in a suit was walking around, shaking hands with excited people. I figured hey, this guy’s got to be somebody, so I simply asked him if he spoke English and who he was. He told me, I asked for a photo together, and when I showed it to Cristina, I learned he was Damian Alegria. I now have taken a photo with a Salvadorian senator and a photo of the president from only five feet away.

A March of Solidarity

We let the beginning of the parade go by and joined in, waving our flags and joining in on several of the chants. Many of us were overwhelmed by Continue reading

El Salvador Day 04 – Winding Roads, Being Amongst the People, and a Question of Theology

Hola, dear reader, and welcome to Day Four’s wrap-up. Today saw more opportunities for interacting with the people, more free time to explore cities, and talk of how our experiences effect our personal theologies. Here’s the scoop…

On the Road (to Victoria)

For the first time, our group was outside and in the street before the bus arrived and I think we were all pleased and excited that we managed to be on time (moving a diverse group of twenty-four from place to place takes time). That said, I’m pretty sure the bus was a little late because Christina accidentally left her cell phone at the guest house last night and while Don entrusted it to me for the night in case she called it while I was up in the wee hours blogging, there wasn’t a peep. Then this morning, Christina called during breakfast and then said she would be on her way. So were we really ready before the bus got there? Eh, as a wiser man than myself once said, you’ll find that things all depend on a certain point of view.

Loaded up in the bus, we headed out of San Salvador for the small town Victoria. We picked up a traveler, too, a young reporter who is a friend of Cristina’s. Through translation from Luis, she explained to a handful of us at the front of the bus what “GANA” means. See, we saw GANA painted in white, blue, and orange on nearly every telephone poll and flat rock surface from the airport to San Salvador on our first day in country and we wanted to know what it meant.

The reporter (and I’m sorry, I missed her name) explained that when Funes won the presidency last year, putting the FLMN party in power, the Arena [sic] party which had dominated for over twenty years split as blame between the “cronies” shifted back and forth and finally landed on the former president. GANA is “Great Alliance for National Unity,” a proposed new party which is a conservative party with “modern” viewpoints. However, they need 50,000 signatures to be considered a real party and they use the painted logos in small towns and rural areas as they are “still getting to know the people.” When it comes to the right-wing parties who had been in power for so long, there was more than a touch of controversy regarding what parties were allowed to operate. In each election, if a party doesn’t get enough votes it ceases to exist. However, the Arena party illegally allowed some parties to continue anyway as a strategic move. This ties into how GANA is hoping to rise up as a party since the question of their signatures to become a legitimate party is on the table.

That paragraph took nearly a half-hour of back-and-forth translation. Afterward, we granted our young reporter a reprieve and let her take a nap. She explained she’s young and was up until 2:00am. I explained I was up blogging until 1:30am so I understood what she meant and I took a nap on the bus, too.

More after the jump. For you newbies out there, that’s blog talk for click “continue reading” to see the rest of the post, photos, and comment box. :)

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