It was an early morning departure from frigid New York and a long journey, but we all made it safely to warm and beautiful sub-tropic El Salvador around noon on Saturday. Jenn Wilder and Janet Walton will be joining us over the next two days and we were sorry to not have Stephen Tickner along, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours Stephen.
We were met at the airport by Teddie who will be our guide for the next eight days. Teddie is originally from Washington State, but has spent the past six years in El Salvador. We all loaded onto our mini-bus and met our driver Danielle who will also be with us for the rest of our time here. While Danielle drove Teddie gave us a little background about our first stop; the site where three Maryknoll nuns and one lay missionary were brutally beaten, raped, and killed in 1980. We had all read about these horrible events in our preparation for El Salvador and now we had a chance to be present and remember these courageous martyrs who committed and lost their lives, like so many others, in the violent struggle that has plagued this country. It was a solemn reflective time at the memorial and small chapel where these women are honored and a powerful introduction to what we will be learning, and experiencing in our time here. Over the next eight days the aim is to listen, learn, and accompany the brothers in sisters in El Salvador as we walk together through this history, a history that we in the US are closely tied to and start to learn the truth about what happened here and carry that truth with us in our various communities and commitments.
For me, I hope to gather insight, lessons, and inspiration from the events and people of El Salvador and share some of my own experiences in the movement to end poverty that I am committed to as part of the Poverty Initiative. I hope to learn more about how the plight and fight of communities like El Salvador can inform, guide, and build bonds of true solidarity toward a global movement to end poverty and realize the will of God; a world that values and protects and nourishes life – the Kingdom and Reign of God.