2014 Stanford Delegation

2014 Stanford Delegation
Stanford Delegation in the UCA Chapel

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day Three of Our Amazing Experience

Hello all, 

After only two full days in El Salvador, I feel so overwhelmed with conflicting emotions, the impact of passionate stories and lack of sleep that I can hardly write. This place and the particular experiences I have been having in this place have rattled something loose inside me and I´m not quite sure what that will mean for my future. For me, this week will be less about reacting and more about recording. The impact of my time here is something, I believe, that will be only uncovered with the passing of quite a bit of time and after even more reflection. Like another great lady I´ve heard of, I look forward to pondering these things in my heart.

The Rose Garden     

Today began bright and early with a visit to the University of Central America (UCA) here in San Salvador where we were joined by members of the South Bay Sanctuary Covenant. We were fortunate enough to receive a guided tour of the Oscar Romero Center and Martyrs Museum on campus given by an esteemed journalist who was present on the site of the Jesuit slaughters mere hours after the attack. Upon seeing the torn and bloody clothing and other personal belongings of the 6 murdered Jesuit priests, a Bible torn apart by bullets, and patches of grass with the blood of the martyred men, I felt the nearly irresistible urge to run or scream or find some way to be anywhere but there facing the horrible truth of the depravity of mankind. I was uncomfortable in a way I have never been uncomfortable before. I was uncomfortable in a way that was exactly the way I should have been made uncomfortable.
Prof. Tom Sheehan @ UCA Chapel

After the tour of the museum center, we visited the university chapel where we heard from Thomas Sheehan, a personal friend of Ignacio Ellacuria, one of the martryed priests. Like many churches and chapels here in El Salvador, the university chapel had posted images of the Stations of the Cross. However, the UCA chapel depictions of the Stations were drawn to specifically incorporate images of the body tortures that the Salvadoran people had suffered during the civil war. Some of the images where highly realistic and graphic in their depictions, but the university remains adamant about keeping these images posted as a reminder of the sufferings of the Salvadoran people.
Robert Hueso- Stations of the Cross

 We grabbed a quick lunch and then settled in for my favorite discussion thus far. Sra. Julia Evelyn Martinez, professor at the UCA and staunch defender of women´s rights, shared statistics about the high incidence of sexual violence, teen pregnancy and maternal mortality within El Salvador. However, most importantly, she shared with us her views on the underlying structural and societal causes behind these alarmingly high numbers. Women´s lack of access (and therefore lack of participation and representation) in academic, political and economic life in El Salvador all contribute to the cycle of poverty and abuse that is all too often perpetuated throughout generations. She ended her presentation by imploring all of us to make a personal effort to do whatever we could to support the furthering of women´s rights in El Salvador and not to underestimate our potential impact.

Rounding out our day of heavy hitting speakers was Supreme Court Justice Mirna Perla. Justice Perla spoke with us at length about security and the prison and judicial systems in El Salvador. The grand theme of her discourse was impunidad (impunity) and the effect that this perceived (and actual) sense of unaccountability has on the continuation of a deteriorated public security situation.

Finally, over dinner our group was regaled by the musical talents of Freddy, a local guitarist and composer. He shared thoughtful, inspirational and occasionally irreverent J local songs. It was a joyful and optimistic end to a long day of learning about the ongoing struggles of the Salvadoran people.
Kiah Thorn

1 comment:

  1. Yes after reading this article your experience seems to be really amazing and exciting. After looking at the images this place looks so good. I wish I could also visit it someday.
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