Today was a day to enjoy the love and passion of El Salvador. As we set out on our journey the bus yet again had a near mirror damage accident with the wall. We are finding out that it is quite common to almost hit a lot of things in a vehicle. The day started with a visit to the UCA, The University of Central America. There we spoke with and enlightening American journalist named Jean Palumbo who was present in El Salvador at the time of the civil war. He shared with us the history of the US involvement in the years leading up to the civil war which allowed us to put many prices of the puzzle of history together. We visited the site where 6 Jesuit Priests and 2 women where murdered in campus and the beautiful rose garden planted for them. After the UCA Mary Ann parted with us to return to return to her town in Izalco. We moved on to La Devina Provendencia, the site of Oscar Romeros murder. A lovely Carmalite Sister shared with us Senior Romeros home, belonging, and the story of the day of this death. The stories where very moving and the love in this area still continues for him. Interesting fact included that Oscar Romero's heart was attempted to be relocated to his tomb in the capital city but when it was exhumed the heart was still intact like his death was just yesterday.
We then moved on to the community where Ann, another Missionary, has set up a Soy Project. There they make most of the food using soy. We had soy patties, veggies, Jamaica (the juice not the country) and some really delicious coffee with soy milk with cinnamon infused in it.
Next we moved on to the base community that Ann is a cofounder of. We talked to three members of the community, Anna, Hector, and Gustavo. The happened to be four students from the USA to talk to us about studying abroad in El Salvador and the projects they are working on. Gustavo is an amazing witness to the word of God. He was telling us how we are on our bibles and now we are all in each others bibles because of this journey we are on together. Each of our stories is our gospel being written everyday. He is also an amazing musician, Rick was telling us he gives free guitar lessons to those who are willing to learn. He writes his own music and shared three songs that he has written. They were beautiful songs written in memory of Romero, Padre Octavio Oritiz and Hermana(Sister) Silvia Arriola all in which were martyred during the civil war.
At the base community they have a quaint little artisan shop which we all purchased souvenirs to take back to the states with us. Which included Los chocos, chocolate covered bananas rolled in nuts, that did not even make it to see the bus. They are muy bueno!
Before we headed back to the retreat center we stopped at a local lo out point called la puerta del diablo, which means the devils door. Seven out to the fourteen took a walk on the wild side and climbed or the very top. Which was extremely windy and most of us were in skirts. At the top we were concerned we might just blow away, we all made it down safely though.
Over all it was a very amazing day. We saw most of the country from atop the mountain, and could see God's beauty in not only the land but also the people. It is going to be very hard to walk away from it all come Sunday morning.
Melissa Holehouse and Raegan Haines, both seniors at Ohio Dominican