2014 Stanford Delegation

2014 Stanford Delegation
Stanford Delegation in the UCA Chapel

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Revisiting Double Consciousness: The Twoness of the Seventh Son in the Global World

Hello Followers,

The following are my thoughts that I gathered after our second day of being in El Salvador. Since our return, I have had a full on reflection and will be posting that soon. Until then, I present this to you for your reading pleasure and mental stimulation.


One hundred years after Bro. du Bois chronicled our souls, the Negro, the Colored, the African-American, the Black man is the still the Seventh Son. Matured past our adolescence, we are comfortably into our adulthood, yet we still don our nascent veil. The second sight has colored and dominated our American experience with, yes more bad than good, more ugly than beauty. Yet, our half-brothers and sisters were still baffled when Sis. Michelle stated that she was proud of our country for the first time in her adult life.

America the beautiful, “father of the free world”, has still left his bastard children, the sons and daughters of fake love and forced sex, in this awkward space where we are acknowledged in public but not so sure if he penciled us in to his will. That’s why a customs form in a Salvadoran airport gives this Seventh Son pause. The form asks for nationality. A first time traveler away from my earthly father’s land, this was a new experience for me. I have always existed in a situation where I had to qualify my claim to my American name with a “Black” or “African”. So in reading the form, everything in me says to follow suit with business usual and write “Black”. But I know the expectation is to simply write “American”. Such a funny thing for my fatherland to engrain in me! In my own home, I am not valued as an equal child, but the rest of world still sees me as a privileged son of my American household. I cannot even begin to protest their assumptions or even try to explain myself. And how can I? Nobody is even asking!

And truthfully, it is unfair for me to think they would or even should consider to ask. Why should they make distinction between Americans? After all, all of us Americans do invariably prosper from the repression of our Salvadoran siblings. Moreover, how can I expect a consciousness of American racial woes to arise in their minds when the bruising construct of race has not wholly shaped their social inequalities? I mean not to present the case that El Salvador is free of racial oppression; the complete destruction and denunciation of the indigenous peoples, speaking of the Spanish language and usage of the American dollar goes to show the extent of White imperialism and manifest destiny. But at least in El Salvador, at least on the basis of skin color, there is no difference in appearance between those who removed baggage off the plane and those who sit in the National Assembly. In my American father’s house however, those who removed the bags off the plane might have looked liked the Salvadorans, starkly contrasting in appearance to the majority of our legislative body.

It is clear then that for my Salvadoran siblings, what has more stratified their society has been class and access to power. And, in many ways, it was my American father who created this stratified society. And so, understandably, I am not conceived of as the illegitimate child but as just another member of the big house that so forcefully dictates who lives and dies in their land; all on the basis of money.

It’s interesting then to note that for Los Salvadoreños , their struggle for justice in their civil war is akin to Seventh Son’s civil rights movement (after all, we were all in some doing battle with Daddy Sam). That considered it is greatly refreshing to witness how the Salvadoran people honor the life and deeds of their martyr and wartime hero, Monseñor Romero. These celebrations are carried out with great fervor, passion and conviction. It excites me to celebrate the life of a man, so committed to his calling, to his community, to his Christ. Yet I sigh with the knowledge that a nation will never gather in such a consistent and mighty way for our martyrs. Nat, Malcolm, Huey and Pac will never get that turnout. And in the days we celebrate Martin, some members of the Seventh tribe celebrate it by turning their guns on each other while the heir-apparent of the American empire wholly forget about such a day.

All the same, I stand and march in solidarity with my Salvadoran siblings in great pride that someone will honor justice, regardless to my color. But, my Blackness weighs on my mind when the heralded member of my Seventh tribe, the (false) harbinger of the post-racial America, my great hero Barack Obama is seen as the face of American oppression. To me, he is savior; intelligent and left enough to be the change we’ve waited for. But in the Salvadoran mind, he is still a force of domination. No space to question his relation to the nation’s crimes. No time to parse out his personal politics. He’s only expected to do the right thing (like Spike Lee) or forever be written as complicit in crimes against humanity. This is a great tension, but a real one.

In many ways, Obama’s tension is the same burden of the seventh son. Our twoness has always been the veil we could hide under. But not now. Our veil is coming off in this swiftly globalizing world as we become legitimized at our earthly American father’s table. Never mind the fact this place never acted as our home. In the new world, where we are the enemy by default, our only hope for redemption comes in cleaning up our father’s mess. We, the bastard child, bare the sins of our father nation across the world.

Going forth in this adulthood of Black America, we must define a new solidarity of marginalized peoples across the world. People who suffer, people whose history suffered, people who are knowledgeable of suffering have a great obligation, the solemn duty to look beyond the mindset of social stratifications , practiced and inherited from our forefathers. It is incumbent upon us that when it comes to justice, we look beyond race, beyond nation, beyond the social remnants of our earthly father and instead turn to our Heavenly Father. We must become agitators for change. When we do this, the Seventh Son becomes fulfilled as a child at the table. Yes, we are disturbing the comforts and thoughts of our America father’s perfectly controlled empire. But who better than us? We create a new paradigm of patriotism; one where we call our father’s wrong out because we as a peoples who have been shunned by our father cannot bear to witness it again in the lives of another. This is the calling of the Seventh Son. This is the splitting of his veil and making his consciousness the mainline consciousness, the only consciousness that matters; the counsciousness dedicated to justice

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Universal Connection

Please forgive our short absence but the internet was not available the last few days.

Thursday March 24, we left San Salvador and drove out towards the mountains beginning our journey to the Lower Lempa. Stopping first at Ciudad Romero, we celebrated mass and the anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero. These people had formed their community while in exile in Panama, and had come to this region after the war to continue their fight. Next, we visited the ACUDESBAL office, which is the headquarters of the United Communities Project a group of around 29 communities that have come together to help one another. Here we talked to the people who worked in these offices and learned about the projects that are being implemented in order to help the community. Next, we were welcomed by the community and introduced to our host families. There were five pairs and the rest of us were alone in our host stays. We had the afternoon with our families, and then went to a concert in Romero celebrating the life of Monsignor Romero.

However, what I would like to talk about is connection. The connection that many of us feel with our families, siblings, and friends. This week in El Salvador has opened my eyes to the extraordinary power of relationships. My host family talked of their experience in the war and the amount of struggle they underwent together. My host father said to me, "If one of us had food, we all had food. There were times where we did not eat for a week, but we struggled together. Now, I have this land and would never give it up no matter the circumstances." A common struggle linked the brothers and sisters of the war to help one another no matter the situation. Similarly, Comunidad Octavio Ortiz (where we stayed with our host family) had bonds that were deeper than anything I have ever seen. It was the embodiment of the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. With each family invested in the community there was a sense of trust and respect amongst all. People thought about a future community, and not a future life for themselves.

In many ways I have seen this bond grow in our own group. Slowly we have shared our stories, reflected with each other, and built lasting memories. This experience has shaped us all in our own way, shown us a new way to look at the world, and will forever connect us in our journeys. I hope that through our experience and better understanding of the world we will never forget how powerful togetherness is. I can only thank the people who made this experience possible and took us into their lives. We are forever indebted to the people of El Salvador, and must commit ourselves to fight for their better future. Together this world can do anything.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

En nuestras manos

Today was a day of powerful personal connections. In the morning, our group had the privilege of meeting with Ana Ortiz, the sister of Octavio Ortiz, a Salvadoran priest who denounced the government's crimes against humanity during El Salvador's civil war. Ortiz preached a system-changing brand of Catholicism known as Liberation Theology: Instead of simply accepting unjust events or evils in the world as the "will of God," liberation theology blames human suffering on the actions of men. Consequently, relief from these hardships can be achieved in the here and now, in this world, when we fight for social justice and human rights. This is the struggle that Ortiz inspired in his congregation. This is why he was branded "subversive."

In 1979, a mere four years into the priesthood, Ortiz was brutally gunned down by the military guard, who then proceeded to roll their tank over his body. Like many "subversives" or people who protested against the government, Ortiz was first offered safe passage out of the country in exchange for cooperation with the government. Showing true solidarity with the plight of the Salvadoran people, Ortiz refused to comply: his conscience could not be bought. It was this compromiso to truth, justice, and peace that cost Ortiz his life.

Learning about Ortiz's lucha today helped framed the context for one of the greatest milestone of our group travels, visiting the site of Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination. Romero's life and work during the civil war have come to embody the very struggle for social justice of Salvadoran people. He was more than a national hero; Romero brought hope, and his memory continues to inspire a culture of resilience in the face of adversity today. For many, Oscar Romero is the most tangible definition of liberation theology in action.

Today, our group had the distinct honor of visiting the very church where Romero was martyred. A Carmelite nun, Mercedes Amador, offered us a tour of the grounds and a historical recount of the day of Romero's assassination. However, she made the experience truly memorable and thought-provoking by challenging us to connect to Romero's mission and to continue his struggle. We each chose a word that we felt described Romero: Paz. Justicia. Corage. Valiente. Forming a circle around the altar where Romero was shot as he gave mass that fateful day March 24, 1980, we repeated our word-- this time charged with the mission of bringing that word to life in our own lives. Being in that church, standing around Romero's very altar, I couldn't help but feel moved by the power of that moment. Mercedes reminded us of our own agency in bringing about change: Like Romero, we can effect transformative change now, without waiting on magic bullet top-down solutions. The sentiment was something I hope I never forget (so much so that I asked her to write it down so that I could transcribe it and translate it roughly to share here):

"La transformación de nuestros pueblos y nuestra sociedad está en nuestras manos. No en las de Obama, ni en las de Funes; sino en mis manos y en las pequeñas decisiones de cada dia donde yo actué con justicia, paz y solidaridad."

"The transformation of our people and our society is in our hands. Not in those of Obama, nor those of Funes. Rather, change is brought about through my hands and the small decisions I make each day in which I act with justice, peace, and solidarity."

-Araceli Y. Flores

Carry On

It is the eve of the 31st year of commemoration when Archbishop Oscar Romero, in the chapel of a small hospital in San Salvador, was horrendously assassinated while he was behind the altar celebrating Mass in the early evening of March 24, 1980. Today, we had the remarkable opportunity to visit this profoundly sacred space and recall a deeply disturbing time in history when this extraordinary leader was killed because of what he preached, how he lived and what he said. Archbishop Romero never said anything that was not consistent with the Christian gospels and the teachings of his Catholic Church. If these teachings have been given, it is clearly so that they might be carried out. At least this is how Monsenor Romero understood it. It has been said that he was not one to accept things "calmly" or "with prudence." He was faithful to and firmly convinced of these teachings. He died for them and for the Salvadoran people he unequivocally loved. Because of this, he was clearly guilty. Our world does not tolerate people like Romero. Our world tolerates and accepts those who are mediocre, those who are complacent. Archbishop Oscar Romero, the one who spoke out passionately about defending life in El Salvador did not want to defend his own life. He only wanted to be faithful. He had been truly converted.

Our guide today at Divina Providencia chapel was a young and articulate Carmelite nun. I suspect that many of us will not soon forget her. Though perhaps something she has done dozens of times for groups such as ours, she indeed conveyed a profound connection to everything she said, and likewise facilitated an experience for us that moved far beyond an ordinary tour of a small chapel. She asked each of us to speak one word that came to mind when we thought of Archbishop Romero. Compassion, justice, love, humility, courage, faithful, peace, sacrifice, among others were named. We were asked to remember our word.

There, gathered around the very altar behind which Romero stood and was cruelly slain by an assassin's bullet, we were invited to put one hand on the altar and call out that word again to palpably remind us that it is now up to us to carry on in the world with the conversion of our hearts the concerns of the marginalized, the oppressed, the forgotten. We must resist the tendency to remain silent or indifferent in full view of injustices of economic, political or social natures, all of which by virtue of being in El Salvador are unveiled to us daily as realidad - reality.

Today in that small chapel we were called to resucitar or resurrect that compassion, justice, love, humility, courage, faithfulness, peace, sacrifice and more in our own lives that we may be instruments of God, of Divine presence manifest in the world we inhabit. In 1979 Archbishop Romero wrote: It is God that makes use of people..... even if they don't have Christian faith. All of these...are instruments of God to love, to give encouragement, to give hope.....

Am I willing, are you willing, are we willing....to carry on?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Obama comes to El Salvador

One of the many banners in San Salvador welcoming President Obama
Today was the much anticipated day--President Obama arrived in San Salvador. In preparation "Beinvenido Obama" signs have been hung all over the city and pot holes on streets where his motorcade was likely to pass have been paved over. It's a pretty big deal for the President of the United States to choose the El Salvador as one of his three stops (along with Brazil and Chile) on his first Latin American tour. It's been a popular topic of conversation with many of the salvadoreños leaders we have met with, and, as most have pointed out, El Salvador was a logical stop for the Central American portion of Obama's visit. 2 million Salvadoreños live in the United States, and while it was once feared that Salvadoreño President Mauricio Funes would be greatly influenced by Hugo Chavez and his allies, Funes has made the very deliberate decision to remain near the political center, giving the Obama administration the opportunity to cling onto him as an ally in a region where we are lacking friends--since the political unrest in Honduras in 2009 the US has a complicated relationship with that country, Nicaragua's Ortega has chosen the far-left path by closely allying himself with Chavez, and Guatemala is having serious struggles with narcotrafficing.

However, Obama's visit has definitely complicated ours. We were originally intended to visit Monseñor Romero's tomb at the same time as Obama. Woops! That definitely wasn't going to happen--we had to change that! We tried going to the Cathedral this morning, but it was shut down to visitors for the entire day due to increased security. We also has great difficulties in accessing The Universidad de Central América this afternoon where we were had a tour of the sight where 6 jesuit priests were massacred in 1989 and were meeting with Rev. Dean Brackley, a jesuit priest and professor at UCA who has lived in El Salvador for over 20 years. Because UCA is just a few blocs from the Presidential Palace, army tanks were set up--blocking the road and halting traffic. Classes at most schools in central San Salvador were canceled today in light of the presidential visit. I also spoke with a woman who sells fruit and vegetables on the streets of central San Salvador who told me she wasn't allowed to sell today--and this would mean that she wouldn't be able to eat today. Hearing these words was humbling, and made me realize that this presidential visit comes at a cost--school children went two days without school; businesses wouldn't be able to operate, causing some to go hungary; and a significant amount of money was spent on welcome flags and paving over pot holes when there are much graver issues to be addressed. Hopefully some good will come of the Presidential visit. Hopefully our governments can cooperate and establish closer ties, and, hopefully, as Dean Brackley said, the US can help El Salvador become a model for economic and political development in Latin America.


Monday's Experience

Memorial to Martyrs
While it is only the beginning of the trip, the group has a very dynamic and positive outlook. We had the opportunity to meet with Carlos Dada, who had the Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford. It was impacting to listen to Carlos discuss his experience interviewing Col. Saravia, the man who led Archbishop Romero´s assassination. You can find the English translation here
Our discussion with Carlos ranged from drug trafficking, local and national politics in El Salvador, violence, corruption, the role and influence of the United States in ES. I walked away from that discussion with a greater appreciation for journalism and th and the diligent work he invested in his online-only newspaper El Faro.
Later on in the day, we had the privilege of visiting UCA the, University of Central America and listening to Julia Evelyn Martinez, Professor of Economics to hear her perspective on violations against women´s rights occurring in El Salvador. She described a cycle of Triple Discrimination By Gender in Reproductive Rights, Political Discrimination and Economic Discrimination. This lecture was informative with statistics and personal stories, and I feel safe to say that we all walked away with deeper interest in women’s rights - at home and abroad.
My favorite part of the evening was when we had a discussion of the state of mental health of El Salvador, followed by reflection and meditation exercise with Oti Guardado. This quiet time of deep thought and relaxation could not have come at a more perfect time. The group had more time for reflection later that evening.
Earlier in the day, the group had the pleasure of visiting the San Ramon barrio and purchase hand-made crafts to support the local Christian-based community.
I feel blessed to be among my peers on this great journey to not only know more about the history and struggles of El Salvador; our personal growth and development has shown through in our conversations, but we still have a long way to go. I look forward to the rest of the week and sharing this sacred experience.
God bless all and the people of El Salvador!
- Sarah

Violence Against Women

One of the most sobering presentations since we arrived was with Professor Julia Martinez at the Univ. of Central America (UCA). She spoke with us about the violence against women in El Salvador as well as the extreme criminalization of abortion. I will cite just a couple of the statistics she shared with us:
  • Between Jan-Oct of 2009 there were 417 murders of women.
  • Last year they discovered a mass grave of 260 women who had been raped before they were murdered.
  •  And perhaps most alarmingly, El Salvador is number one in the world for feminicide and the murder rate is 40% higher than the next worst country, Guatemala.
It is perhaps too easy for us from an industrialized country to look with disdain upon these sad and depressing statistics, but the reality is that El Salvador is part of a worldwide pattern in which women and children are marginalized and victimized. Salvadoran women suffer from lack of access to proper health care, contraception and reproductive services, education, employment opportunities, etc. These also happen to be services that many women in the US also lack access to. So perhaps we are not that much different. Could it be that these are antecedental events that could lead to yet more violence against women?

I have suspicion that the way that we treat women and children in our society, nationally and globally, is a determining characteristic of our health. Perhaps women and children are the "parakeets in the coal mine" of global society. Their health and well being will determine our survival. What do you think?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


"To have peace, you first need justice." -spoken by El Salvador's first woman Supreme Court Justice, Mirna Perla to our delegation today (with a loose translation courtesy of Danny).

Though in reference to the amnesty provided to former death squad members in the peace accords following the Salvadoran civil war, this quote resonates with all communities fighting for social justice.  Mirna shared with us tears for her husband who was assassinated during the civil war as a consequence of his position as the Director of the Non-Govermental Human Rights Commission.  Despite this sorrow her story was one of hope; she who was formerly labeled as "subversive" is now a respected human rights defender.  The hope of her story is one of many permeating the national feeling here.

We see this hope manifested as courage in the actions of Hector Berrios, a leader in the struggle for human rights in Cabanas.  Despite death threats he perseveres in the struggle, promoting the spread of information and the spread of solidarity.

We see the propagation of hope in the children of this country.  As Hannah mentioned yesterday, they're passion lent enthusiasm to the parade last night.  A parade for a man not of their lifetime, yet for great reason they have claimed as their own.  The youth energizes us, said Padre Luis after Mass today at Maria Madre de las Pobres.  Yet when I watch the church band comprised mostly of youth and the young girls who read Mass, I can't help but realize that the youth also inspires us.

And while this hope manifests itself in the young generation, we see its undying presence -molded with time-in the older generations.  When Padre Luis glorified both God and Romero at Mass, their love for their Lord and their Monsenor flowed through them, from their lips and from their spirits.  It was in this moment that I saw my Ita (my Salvadoran grandmother) in the faces of the elderly women around me.  Her words to me before I left echoed in my heart as I was humbled by the hope of the Salvadoran people.  A hope of such scale I have never before witnessed.

Though our speakers call for solidarity and though we have taken it as a buzzword for this trip, people seem keen to point out what could be counter efforts of Obama's visit.  Though out government and under it, our military, has undeniably committed disgraceful human rights violations I have seen hope in America for a change.  My dad is a Navy man currently stationed at a Spanish navy base shared with the Americans; here I have seen the power dynamics our country seems to play by.  My first day in Rota, the base CO opened his introductory speech with a humbling question: "How many foreign military bases are on US territory?  How many nations have military bases on foreign soil? We are in a privileged position."  Though I've seen this privileged position play out, I have also seen a striking degree of solidarity.  The Spanish and the American military communities have created a beautiful solidarity, working, socializing, praying, and committing to social causes together.  While I know that our nation still commits human rights violations, often facilitated by the military, I can't help but hope in the character of some of its current leaders to rectify these issues.

May we model our hope off that of the plentiful examples of the Salvadoran nation and incorporate it into solidarity with both our nation and others such that we can create a world of first justice, then peace.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

We Have Arrived!

To friends and family reading this blog- as of 6:15 El Salvador time (5:15 CA) we arrived in San Salvador in one piece, with all of our luggage and only missing a few hours of sleep. Luckily we were able to make this up as we waited for the rest of our friends from South Bay Covenant to arrive (minus Karen, we miss you!). We then had orientation and the opportunity to all get to know each other better and learn about all of the exciting things in store for us this week.

The big event of the day was the 3 mile walk de la Plaza El Salvador del Mundo hasta la Cathedral. Starting out with about a few hundred, by the end it felt like hundreds. We embarked on our walk as the sun set along with men, women, girls and boys of all ages. A few of us fell in love with two small girls carrying signs of Romero walking beside us. The range in ages represented stood out strongly to me; all individuals present seemed genuinely passionate about being there. As the night darkened, teens began chants and games, ducking and running. The adults joined in as well, however, yelling "Romero vive, la luche sige sige" with as much gusto as the youngsters. Across the generations families, friends and fellow countrymen walked together. The passion of the youth, who were either very young or not yet born when the civil war ended in 1992, particularly struck me. They care immensely about something that they never experienced; they may homage to a man they never saw or heard in real time. As the US continues wars abroad and the legacy of Vietnam fades, I feel like we as a country are missing something that El Salvador possesses: the imprinted memory in their hearts and minds of the struggles and triumphs that either they or their ancestors experienced. I get the sense that this march will continue in strength and power throughout the generations, preserving a crucial part of the Salvadorian identity and soul.

- Hannah R.

Compelled by Love

   This afternoon some of us watched the documentary, "Return to El Salvador," which describes the circumstances of a few Salvadoran refugees. These refugees returned to help their country. It described the circumstances of the violence of the civil war and the egregious human rights abuses of the Salvadoran military, including the torture and mutilation of children. It was sobering, even for someone who isn't fluent in Spanish to hear their stories. And yet, through their pain, fear, and outrage, they found the courage to resist this brutality for the sake of their children and a better future for El Salvador.
   Hearing their stories caused me to think that perhaps all of social justice is, at it's root, an act of love. The reason these people did not turn away and ignore the injustices all around them, turn away from the violence, and go far away and forget about the suffering of their countrymen and women is that they were compelled by love to resist. I don't want to be naive in suggesting that we are all little Mother Teresas, but it was clear to me in hearing their stories that they were compelled by love for those who were suffering. May we all be so compelled to love on behalf of those who are suffering violence and injustice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

El Salvador, Take 2

It's been a year, and as the 31st anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero approaches, Geoff and Joanne have once again selected a group of 10 Stanford students to head down El Salvador for Spring Break on a solidity mission. We are Doc, Angela, Edgardo, Sarah, Araceli, Hanni, Thomas, Erin, Rassy, and Hannah. We are all sophomores, juniors or seniors (and just about all of us seem to be HumBio majors).

Over the past 10 weeks we have prepared for this trip in many ways. We've had two orientations with the members of Southbay Sanctuary Covenant Church, and we've heard from guest lectures who have presented use with a number of different perspectives on El Salvador--historical, environmental, religious, and even medical. However, I think few of us would contest that one of our most thought-provoking guest lecturers was Stanford Political Science professor Rob Reich.

Professor Reich presented us with Ivan Illich's speech entitled "To Hell with Good Intentions" and asked what gives us the right to go down to El Salvador and force ourselves upon the the salvadoreños? Don't we as Americans do more harm than good in other countries? Haven't we caused enough damage in Central America? How have we come to be so morally superior as to believe that are first world ways are better than theirs and that we can create simple solutions to their problems and provide them with a "better" lifestyle? And even if we could possibly help them, what could we possibly accomplish in a mere 10 days? What attitude do we approach the people of El Salvador with? Do we admit to our power as Americans or do we try to disempower ourselves and feign equality?

Professor Reich asked us a number of tough questions. We were able to come up with answers to some to them, others we will come to answer as we are in El Salvador, others we may never be able to answer. As a class we discussed that we aren't trying to change anything in El Salvador and have no intention of doing so. If anything, we acknowledge that this trip will benefit ourselves much more than it will benefit any of the salvadoreños we may meet; however, the question what gives us the right to impose ourselves upon the salvadoreños for our own personal gain remains. There is no easy answer, but the best we could come up with (at least at this point) is that going to El Salvador and participating in a cross cultural exchange is far better than sitting at home in our Stanford bubble. We feel that we have an obligation to learn about the world instead of only looking inward at our somewhat utopian community.

We realized that we may be able to justify our trip on some level if we use it as an educational experience to teach not just ourselves but also other Americans about experiences in El Salvador. To accomplish this we plan on recording conversations with El Salvadorians so that Stanford can have them on file for academic purposes, and we also plan to use this blog as a way to document our trip and share our experiences with other members of the Stanford community.

That being said, our departure is a short three days away, and I think it's safe to say that we are all eager to get to El Salvador and meet her people.