Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Five years later...

First of all, for all of you who receive these updates via email, it has been brought to my attention that you only receive the text of my post in your email, and not the pictures, so make sure to visit the actual blog site when I mention pictures if you want to see them. Here's the link:

Also, it's often worth looking at the full size version of the pictures by clicking anywhere on the slide show.

El Salvador has been amazing. Last night, we went to a meeting of all the members of the community here, after spending the day walking around San Ramon and visiting houses. It was almost surreal, arriving at some of the same homes I remember visiting five years ago when I first came.... but this time, the sensation was completely distinct. Rather than nervously following behind group leaders and waiting for translations, I was able to translate, organize and prompt discussions. Now, when the people talk about poverty, or the violence of the war and the family members they lost, I am able to ask questions, relate to them, and share experiences from what I've seen in Colombia.
At the meeting, all the community members were given a chance to speak about what our visit means to them. I remember being blown away by the same process five years ago, left speechless by their generosity and graciousness. This time, though, I was able to get up in from of 100 members of the community and tell them how the two weeks I had spent with them five years ago had changed the entire life. I couldn't keep from tearing up as I thanked them for the inspiration that has motivated me to learn Spanish, and delve into humanitarian work with Mexican farmworkers, deafblind people, and Colombians. One on hand, I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction, that my sympathy for and solidarity with the Salvadoran people has been transformed into concrete action, but on the other hand, I find their commitment and compassion to be so immense, that I feel deeply humbled... reminded that I have only brushed the surface of what I hope to contribute to society.

Today has been a day of rest, but also full of activity. We spent the day at the beach with the families were staying with, and had an amazing day, swimming in the ocean of one of the most beautiful beaches we've ever seen. We also got a chance to ask questions about the war during the 80's and hear about all the family and community members assassinated during that time.
Then, on our way home, as seen in the picture to the right, the van we were driving broke down in the middle of the highway. We decided to slowly, and carefully get out, one by one, and dodge through traffic to wait on the side of the road until another truck came along and picked us up. Much to our surprise, rather than calling a tow truck, the best option was considered to be tying the van, by rope, to the truck and pulling it all the way through the city back home.... quite an adventure, needless to say... but we are all safe and sound now.

Also... a quick note about the February Educational Trip planned to Colombia for all of you who have been asking.... Yes, there are still spots available between the 16th and the 23rd. The trip will be a perfect opportunity to learn more about the projects I'll be fund raising for during the next few months, and also to learn about Colombia, and the dynamics of the environment, poverty, and NGOs in developing countries. Please visit for more information, and contact me with any questions.

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