El Salvador Day 06 鈥 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鈥檒l afford me this gift and perhaps upon our return, my traveling companions can fill in more details in the comments section, something which they鈥檒l hopefully do throughout the blog in the days after our trip.

Also, if you haven鈥檛 seen the contest I鈥檓 running, look for the post called 鈥淐ontest: Globalization at What Price?鈥 for more information on how you can win a free book just by leaving us a comment.

And with that, on to today鈥

Traveler鈥檚 Truth II

Oh, I feel better. Now hear this, students considering coming on one of these trips: bring Cipro. When TDI strikes, it鈥檚 the best remedy, aside from eating a ton of bread and bananas. And if you鈥檙e not stricken with TDI, well as the French say, 鈥淐鈥檈st la vie.鈥 Or as the El Salvadorians say, 鈥淪omething in Spanish.鈥

On the Road (From La Palma)

Sorry, dear reader, but as much as I said I hoped I鈥檇 be awake and able to tell you all about the beautiful scenery, I indeed slept for much of the way. What time wasn鈥檛 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鈥檒l have time this week to expound on it. It鈥檚 not a secret, I鈥檓 just too tired and it鈥檚 a tale that I feel is worth spending time crafting. I鈥檒l just say that, for the past two months, Continue reading

El Salvador Day 05 鈥 The Truth of Travel, Meet the Police, and La Palma鈥檚 Art Scene

We鈥檝e 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鈥檚 the story鈥

Traveler鈥檚 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鈥檒l codename 鈥渢raveler鈥檚 digestion issues.鈥 It鈥檚 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鈥檇 prefer not to have TDI, it鈥檚 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鈥檚 dish 鈥 either chicken alfredo or sea bass and rice 鈥 looked so delicious. But I鈥檓 hoping things will be cleared up soon. I learned I鈥檓 not the only one to be stricken with TDI but we鈥檙e all in this together, helping each other make sure we鈥檙e 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鈥檚 been great about getting me water and checking in with me to make sure I鈥檓 not pushing myself beyond my limits. So to this end, it鈥檚 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鈥 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鈥檚 not listed as monsignor or bishop or archbishop but just his full name, like all of the rest of the people. It鈥檚 solidarity in stone. The only difference is his name has visibly been worn down just a tad from people reaching out to Continue reading