We arrived in El Salvdor one week ago, ready to run full speed into our last country. Karla Morgan, our El Salvador-born professo, was more than ready to show us everything about her country.
We started in the little town of Suchitoto, where we went to another language school. It was really just 20 something year old girls hanging out with us for 3 days, teaching us everything they could about the culture. We watched the festivities of Semana Santa, spoke with civil war vets, and discovered that we will never be able to fully comprehend this place that is so loaded with traditions and hurt from the war. Every person here is scarred by the war that tore apart families, and led to the death of too many innocent people. Each person has a unique story that frequently ends with “I don`t know why we were fighting`. We are here to listen and understand, yet it is painfully obvious that we will never understand. We can only come alongside these people, offer our hearts, and join together in solidarity.
I also have never met such a graceful people. The U.S. was basically paying for the massacring of the El Salvador population, yet here we are, being welcomed with open arms. Why is it that we fear for our lives when we meet someone from the Middle East, yet these people were wiped out by White North Americans and can still be excited about knowing each individual. Shouldn`t we be full of the same grace? Doesn`t every person deserve the right to be different, the right to surpass a stereotype?
We have had a week loaded with activity and rest, American treats and Pupusas. We have 10 days left of our 4 month adventure and I don`t know that any of us are ready to leave. The people we have met in the last 4 months have breathed life into us. They have left us in awe of their strength, of their willingness to fight for their rights no matter the consequences. In the next 10 days we will meet more of these people. Yes, it was wonderful to go see a Jennifer Aniston movie (in English) and eat a burger at the mall the other day, but that really doesn`t feed life the way that growing with people does. I have come to realize that although there are wonderful little luxuries of my lifestyle in the States, none of those are worth my time if I don`t fill the majority of my life with community- with people who I can learn a lot from, and who might learn from me.