We were told that El Salvador is doing 50% better than all of the countries around the world and 50% worse than all of the countries around the world - when it comes to poverty, violence, education, health care, and access to resources. We also learned that 90% of all of the drinking water in El Salvador is contaminated, therefore to have clean drinking water, people, if they can afford it, need to drink bottled water. Many people in El Salvador do not have this luxury.Friends Across Borders program offers opportunities for people of faith and conscience to travel to Cambodia, El Salvador and Kenya. The Shawvers were part of a delegation that visited El Salvador in August.
Rosie recorded her experiences in a series of posts in her Catholic in the City blog. Here are some excerpts.
Prior to going to El Salvador - I knew all of the history intellectually. But while I was there the history took root in my very being. I felt and saw the struggle between those who have everything they need and those who are struggling to survive. I understood why people revolted against their own government in a much more palpable way. Honestly, I still saw suppression, extortion, corruption, and felt the presence of violence, although I never once felt afraid or threatened. What about hope? Yes, I did see and feel that presence also - this is what I hope my future blogs will be about. Read the full post
Prior to their brutal murders all of these women had several chances to leave El Salvador, but they did not. They felt a deep calling to stay present and accompany those whom were suffering from the effects of the civil war. It made me question what would I do if I felt threatened because of the ministry I was doing? Read full post
Water, Gang Violence, Parque Cuscatlán and El Rosario Church
One thing that struck me while we were in El Salvador was the prominence of guns. Outside of every store - big or small, outside of churches, and sometimes even homes, every one had a security guard with a gun. Coming from a place in California where violence is not in my face all of the time, this was hard for me to see and be around. Are the guns used for intimidation? Security? Or perhaps a subtle reminder of the blood of the war and a reflection of who truly is in charge? I don't know. The civil war ended 20 years ago, but I still think the effects of the war, in the living memory of those who are there, is still very real. I am unsure of what Salvadorians think about the presence of guns everywhere, but I know that for me it was jarring and something I could not ignore. Read full post
Rosie and Mike were involved in many social justice activities during their time in Albuquerque. They now reside in the Los Angeles area. Rosie is planning to add more reflections from the trip to El Salvador. Check in the Catholic in the City blog for new posts.