The energy perhaps for some is waning a little, and also several people are under the weather, so fewer people made the trek to the ocean this morning. We began the formal day with a worship reflection prepared by three of those auditing class. Based on Psalms 119, we looked to symbols of nature that bring us joy, and drew a composite collage of things that bring us joy. After breakfast, those of us who wished went into town to explore the market. A new outdoor market was opening today, so we got an unexpected surprise of Salvadorian dancers and music. Several people bought fresh coffee, which they roasting back at Chencho’s—what an amazing smell. Others bought straw hats. The produce was gorgeous—blemish free, large, good quality and fresh—tomatoes, cabbage, mango, avocados, beans, corn, and more. Lots of clothes for sale, many donated from the North. The fish market was along the pier, and the fish were large and definitely fresh---the most beautiful fish I have seen. The harbor front has been developed and is quite attractive. I adored my ride in the back of the pick up on 15 minutes rides back and forth to town—reminded me of my childhood growing up on our family farm.

We appreciated a little quiet time to go to the several pools, to the ocean, blog, read or catch a nap before a late lunch.

This week has been so rich, so filled with beauty, community, spirituality, nature, and new learnings…reminding us of how much we share with humanity, how little we know but together how much we know, and the blessing of community.

This afternoon we continued to workshop the Appreciative Inquiry model that Chencho has adapted into his Peacebuilding workshops. (See blog by Emily Gordon.)

We shared some gifts we had brought as tokens of our deep appreciation for the hospitality and love shown to us by Chencho, Yenny and those who cooked the amazing meals and made us feel so at home.

Tonight Eileen led a conversation with Yenny sharing learning and insights related to violence against women. It was an important discussion, with voices including how men can speak out against gender violence, and the particular difficulty faced by transgender people. Our hearts and souls wanted to continue the conversation, but our minds and bodies realized we needed to draw it to the end, realizing it was time to pack for our trip home, which would take place in the morning.

Saying Good-bye to El Salvador

Most rose at 5:30 am as we had most morning during our stay and headed for one last time of enjoying the ocean surf, marveling at the beauty and power of the ocean. We returned for worship, reflecting on Matthew 25, the Last Judgment (i.e. sheep and goats) and what it means to us in the context of our week—images and thoughts shared included: standing in solidarity, being Christian is being political, seeing the face of Christ in all.

A breakfast of plantain, beans and rice seemed most appropriate for our send off. We talked about several projects we would be working on including letter writing to USA and Canadian official prior to the Honduras election, and providing material for the Meso American website Lots of hugs, thank-you and blessings, was followed by a very quick trip to the airport when a bus did not come at the appointed time—but Chencho tracked it down and soon we were on the way-- with Chencho leading the way with his red Toyota crew cab with the bus behind.; and as we sped by sorghum fields, I noticed they had grown over the week and were almost ready to tassel, and I thought about how much perhaps we all had grown and wondered about our own emergences and that of an interfaith church…

I feel very blessed to have been part of this experience, and am very thankful to Pamela Couture and Jose (Chencho) Alas for their insight and vision in creating this program, but also for being willing to trust and be open to the mysteries beyond knowing in letting the week unfold. Also, thank you to the United Church of Canada for its support towards the program.

I am sure you will be hearing more from us over the upcoming months….


Karen Rodman