Our last day in El Salvador began with a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, refried beans, toasted rolls and a tamale (most tasty with honey). Our scheduled back-of-the-truck trip to the lagoon at Allegria was nixed for the opportunity to head up to Berlin central for morning shopping, people watching and the possibility of a stop in at the Ice Cream Store… Kathy and the delegation made our way the few blocks to the square where the street vendors were recently set up. Earrings became severely picked over within a matter of minutes. The group soon left the square to tour, photograph and enjoy the sights of the store owners, vendors and architecture which is unique to the community. We were reacquainted with people we had met on a previous trip and lots of hugs and well wishes were exchanged. I bought some local CD’s to play in the car and others picked up a small variety of items for themselves and friends at home. Four of our group had decided to head back to the pastoral house and with Kathy’s permission split off from us with the understanding to go straight there… Jennifer, our Spanish speaking delegate was with them so they wouldn’t have any problems… The rest of the entourage soon headed back and thought that a quick stop in at the Ice Cream Store would be a great idea.. and who should we find but the four that had left before us… BUSTED…. Lots of laughs and giggles this morning…Back at the Pastoral House we finished packing, downloaded camera memory chips and tried to copy a CD for Kathy so she could have our pictures too. Soon lunch was ready and we had our final House meal for the trip.. my favorite… a kind of enchilada.. a flat crispy tortilla with refried beans, avocado, hardboiled egg, tomato, lettuce and cheese… very tasty and light…. Ummmm… I had three. We soon had our van transportation waiting out front (early!!!) and quickly loaded our gear, ourselves and a group of the Pastoral House and their relatives for the trip to San Salvador to experience the 21st anniversary of the martyrdom of the 6 Jesuit Priests, a housekeeper and her young daughter. The army of the government had surrounded the campus of the UCA (University of Central America) in 1989 and killed and maimed these administrators and teachers. Their deaths were a turning point in the civil war as this tragedy was the trigger that made the United States discontinue its support of the existing government and push the two factions to end hostilities. The tranquil campus, beautiful sand art paintings which covered the streets, a candle light procession behind tall swaying palm branches gave each of us the opportunity to reflect on what had happened not so long ago. Before we had the opportunity to join the procession we all shared a pupusa dinner on the grass lawn outside the Romero Museum where many items have been preserved from that terrible night when 8 innocent people died. At the end of the candlelight march a mass was held (in Spanish) at the campus soccer field. Large screens were set up so that the estimated 5000-7000 people could see the stage set up at one end of the stadium. Our team sat on the concrete or laid in the grassed area which surrounded the large group gathered. Toward the end of the mass there was kind of a group hug… people from around where were sitting started hugging each other and us and saying …”Peace Be With You”… very nice, unexpected…. As we were to head back to our overnight stay at “Casa Antigua” we said our goodbyes to the Pastoral House team (more hugs) and wound our way back to Alfredo and the van. As we were all very tired and would be getting up very early to head to the airport a quick “turn in” was in order… A beautiful day to end a wonderful week in El Salvador.
Posted by Mark McAdoo