Monday, August 28, 2017

Day 4-6 - Homestays in El Bario

by Sarah Ludwig

On Day 4 we visited the community of El Bario for the first time and met our homestay families. We also toured the school and were warmly welcomed by members of the community board. That afternoon, we began our Spanish classes!

The following morning, when we returned to El Bario for our two night homestay, we also began our school visits and English classes.

Much was learned during these few days, and each person had a unique experience.

Day 10 - Saying Goodbye at the Beach

by Sarah Ludwig

After our final night in El Bario with the our homestay families, we traveled to El Zonte... the beach! We enjoyed swimming in the pool, eating by the water, and reflecting on our amazing 10 days together.

The swimming pool - always a hit.

Yogi and the resident iguana

Much time was spent admiring the waves and rocky coastline

Final group dinner

 The whole crew :)

See we are silly too!

Day 8 - Work Hard, Play Hard

By Ari Standish

Today we woke up back at the hostel after two nights away with our host families. After breakfast, we left for the Santa Anita agricultural co-op. We worked different jobs to prepare a building for the police to live in. We had to clear an area for a septic tank amd a sidewalk, and prepare concrete for the rooms. We all had different jobs, like hoe-ing and shoveling the grass, picking up trash, taking out a tree, and reinforcing a road. We took breaks in the shade, with cokes and coconuts. 

A little before noon, we stopped for lunch, which was tortillas, rice, beans, chicken, and veggies. People from the Santa Anita community made our lunch, and we all ate together.

Then we drove back to the hostel for a quick clothing change, and headed to the lake. We had always looked out at the lake from the hostel balcony, and it was even more beautiful in person. We set out on two boats, and the lake was absolutely breath-taking. The water was still, with lots of floating plants, and there were huge mountains in he distance. We also liked the flowers growing on  the lake, which smelled like watermelon  if you got them wet. 

Our guides told us how the lake was man-made, that towns were flooded to create it. The lake was used during the civil war; the boatman took both the army and guerillas across without giving either side any information. We made a stop at Bird Island, which is home to around 20,000 birds. There are also crocodiles in the lake, but they only come out at night.

After the boat ride we came back to the hotel for free time. Some of us shopped in the town square, while others swam or napped. For dinner, Tita made us Mexican-style quesadillas with beans. After dinner we relaxed, played games, or packed (it's our last night in the hostel!). Then we had reflections, where we played a quick game and had check-ins about our goals for the trip. We were all very tired after such a long and interesting day!

Day 7 - History in San Salvador

By Ann Baier and Thomas Sutfin

We spent the day in San Salvador learning about the history of El Salvador.  The first of  3 sites we visited was the Monsignor Romeros Center at the University (UCA).  Here our guide is telling us about the artwork in the Chapel with Ann translating

Below is a portrait of Monsignor Romero, the Catholic Archbishop who spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. He was assassinated on March 24th, 1980. 

A photo of our group  learning about the assassination of 6 Catholic Priests in the Rose Garden of their residence in 1989. (Our guide is pointing to the Rose Garden.)

The clothes the priests were wearing when they were assassinated

A beautiful church in San Salvador - Iglesia El Rosario

On the drive home from San Salvador to Suchitoto we encountered a major rain storm. The downpour cause flooding of the roads.

After diner that night we cranked up the music and danced!!