Day One

I am travelling with an amazing group of young women who are majoring in nursing, criminal justice, English and Spanish. and my compadre Grant, an English prof. Last night´s reflections blew me away as we begin to process this unique human rights experience. Each day my hopes are that another student participant will share with you. I am keeping a journal too. It´s a lot of work being a cultural tourist.  So hold on , here we go!

My name is Tracy, I´m a nursing major and really excited to be here!

Today was our first full day in El Salvador. We spent the morning at the hotel listening to Carlos Garcia speak to us about the history of the country as well as the current state. It was interesting watching him speak with such passion and Sister Marie was nice enough to interpret. What we discussd later was his incredible knowledge of the history and ability to recall dates which many of us admitted not being able to do for our own history.

Wall of Remembrance

Wall of Remembrance

After lunch we headed to a park in the city where we saw the wall of names of people that have gone missing or were killed as a result of the civil war. It is reminiscent of the Vietnam War Memorial as the names seem to go on and on but the difference was the incredible amount of women´s names. It really puts into perspective the damage that has been done as a result of the war.

Little boy who was selling gum at the park where the memorial wall is. He was there with his brother. They were quite the charmers

After the park we went over to the hospital across the street which is the only hospital for the poor in El Salvador. We had a tour led by Dr. Virginia (in English!) and it was fascinating to see the complex, open air hospital. It was busy and crowded at times, and very different than home but it was beautiful in its own way. It really shows that the workers care about the patients as we learned that Doctor Virginia who is a surgeon only makes around $1000 per month. Despite what meager funds the hospital has they manage to provide care to many people that would otherwise go without and that is really amazing.

View of one of the hospital buildings
from the center garden area 

Although there is much more to say, that is all I will say for now. More to come later!

Each evening we have a reflection time as to what we experienced that day so here´s very brief first day´s cultural observations.

-history repeating itself in both our countries: displacement of  people, slavery
-being happy and material wealth
– the book of Ruth and the role of women without their men
– hospital systems / health care and discrepancies for indigents

*New foods today included :tamarind and hibiscus juice, paterna- served in its pod  it´s a seed that looks like a habanero chile in a coccoon  -you eat  the cocoon and the green seed will be cooked. We had the green part in our dinner salad .

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