2014 Stanford Delegation

2014 Stanford Delegation
Stanford Delegation in the UCA Chapel

Sunday, March 24, 2013

 Our Hope for the Week by Elizabeth Patino
From the moment I got in the class, I have been jumping up and down knowing that I would be able to come to El Salvador and learn more about the history of its civil war and liberation theology. I wanted to learn and experience as much as possible and be able to compare it to my experience in Colombia. The past few months we've been discussing theology, liberation movements, history, and what economic, social, and political liberation looks like. However, as excited as I was and as much as we kept hearing about every place we were going to visit, it didn't really click that I was actually coming to El Salvador to see what all of those issues and ideas look like in El Salvador 20+ years after the civil war. However a familiar smell and familiar sites greeted me as soon as we stepped out of the airport and were on our way to the guest house. The beautiful mountains, the huts on the side of the road, the people walking around, and the run-down two- and three-story houses all reminded me of my hometown in Colombia. I kept thinking that we were on our way to my grandmothers house, except we obviously we were not. But it is still hard to believe that we are in fact here. Everything seems familiar, like I am at home. And at the same time I also felt like we were carrying the Stanford bubble with us in this rented buseta as we traveled through the city. And when we got to the site where the Jesuits were killed, everything seemed so much more real, especially when I happened to look inside the church near where they were assassinated and saw the artwork that depicted the torture that many people had to endure during the war. Still there is a disconnect. I couldn't, and still can't, really comprehend what it means to have stood so close to the place where this terrible thing happened. I find it hard to connect the dots from what we learned in class to understanding that this was true... real life history and we were all at that very real place. I guess I thought I would feel like when I am in Colombia, like I am part of the land and the people, but I feel like a turist instead. I am eager to take in this experience and see what I can and cannot connect. 
This is the gate the soldiers entered on their way to assassinate the
priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter.
Today during our reflection we wrote down what we are hoping to gain from this week, this is what I wrote:

I keep thinking about the reading we got during our plane ride, "To Hell with Good Intentions" by Ivan Illich... it says a lot about how not to be... what not to do. But then, what do we do? How do we help? What does it mean to be in solidarity with someone or with a movement or with a people? How can we be most useful? And how do we check our privilege? 


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