Waking up surrounded by people you barely know, in a country whose climat is foreign in every way to your’s is a wonderful thing for me
I have been to El Salvador twice before, and each time is different in a new blessed way.
Morning started with salsa on eggs, toast (with cheese), papya and Jamica (ha-my-ka) to drink. Worship consisted of singing, prayer, scripture, and questions. We then boarded the buses, and left sometime around 8:45 (El Salvador time is different then the regimented time of Canada:) ). We took the bus through San Salvador, seeing the people weaving through traffic and selling goods in the middle of the road, to the location were Saint Romero lived, and was assinated. We toured his rooms, saw the reality of his death though documentation and pictures, and saw his bloodstained robes; these robes were worn when Oscar Romero was shot on March 24th, 1980. After Oscar Romero was shoot, the civil war became a reality, and the scars of this war are still evident today; this is the El Salvador that we see: a country striving for peace and reconciliation, to ease the pain. After our visit to Saint Romero’s rooms, we saw the chapel where he was shot while serving communion. Pastor Miguel talked to us a bit about the history and his personal connection to Oscar Romero, it was an emotionally morning.
After this, we had a snack, took a group photo, and left for lunch. Lunch was at the ‘iconic’ restaurant called Pollo Campero (poy-yo cam-p-err-o), fried chicken, french-fries and a bun was our wonderful lunch.
From there we went to the Wall of the Disappeared , in a park under going restoration (which is now beautiful). There Miguel talked, and told of the sever sadness and reality that plagued his beloved country. It was sad, and brought the reality of fear and war to life. It was so sad.
After that we went to the cathedral where Saint Romero is buried, we saw his crypt, and the people that pray to him. We wandered around the crypt area, seeing pictures of the Stations of the Cross, and other priests who were influential during the civil war. Miguel spoke about the symbols around Saint Romero’s crypt, the four apostles, different branches, and the split in the tomb where Saint Romero’s heart rises from. It is a truly magnificent crypt, truly honouring who it represents. After this, we waited while some people paid (20 cents) to use a washroom, and then we wandered over to a magnificent cathedral, where modernisation/urbanism harmonises to make a beautiful ‘rainbow church’ which streams colours into it’s beautiful interior. This sojourn in San Salvador was completed by a walk back to the cathedral (with a stop for ice cream), were we got back on our buses, and home to the Center.
After milling around and chatting, dinner was had: spaghetti and hotdog pieces, vegetables, cantaloupe juice, followed by watermelon (delicious!). Worship followed, consisting of songs, prayer, and a reflection on reflecting Jesus’ acts, there was also group time, which was great.
From there, I have been writing in my journal and doing this. I must now say goodnight, and I hope you enjoyed reading this, goodnight!
Written by: Rachel Vollmer