Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day Five

¡Hola and Bienvenidos!

Our first visit today was visiting the Divina Providencia where Monseñor Romero was assassinated.  Romero was a Catholic bishop from El Salvador who was murdered while offering Mass (in the picture below) in 1980.  He was killed for speaking out against the government and military and advocating for the rights of the El Salvadoran people.  He is revered as a national hero and martyr, and his presence and legacy is found all over this country and all over the world.  We also visited his house, which has not been changed at all in thirty four years.  The robes he was wearing when he was killed and pictures of the assassination were hanging up inside.  His work was very noble and inspiring and is a testament to the fight for human rights and the end of oppression.

Our next stop was meeting with David Morales, who is the Procurator for the Defense of Human Rights.  El Salvador's government has an office for Human Rights, much like how the United States has different departments.  His role would be equivalent to meeting with the Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense in the United States.  We were honored that he took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us.  I learned a lot from him today about the past and current state of different social, political, and environmental issues in El Salvador.  He was very knowledgable and passionate about his work and I have much respect for him.

After we ate lunch, we went to a local community park and met with two groups of young women who are shelter residents at a home for human trafficking victims.  I do not have any photos of them to keep them safe and protected.  We played basketball (I made a basket!) and engaged in two other group games (one of which was the human knot game).  It was nice to be able to interact with them in a safe and neutral environment in a fun and safe way.  While at the park, Mario and I met a young boy and played football with him for a while.  It was fun to play with the kids and donate our time with them.

After dinner we watched a film on the community of Santa Marta, which we will be visiting this weekend.  The film was about how this community rebuilt itself after being destroyed by the war.  I deeply admire the ways in which the community stayed strong and was resilient and determined to start again.  It was truly inspiring and I wish more communities came together like this and fought together for social justice and change.

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