Thursday, January 3, 2013

A week that lasts a lifetime

Today was the first day that Miguel and I traveled to the construction of the house in Las Delicias, with Chelsea  and Laura, while Sonja and Holly made their way to Cuidad de Arce. This was after the amazing eggs we had for breakfast, made by Mike from the Villanova group.

What we found in Las Delicias was a group of small children already helping out the others that were digging the trenches for the house. The morning really flew by thanks to great conversation with Don  Israel, the construction leader, and Carlos, a local community member. It was also great that most of the site was covered in shade while we worked, and the soil was very soft and easy to work with.

Chelsea was supposed to be helping at the nearby daycare with some members of the Villanova group, but the night before, she found out what happens when some of the water is consumed in San Salvador. She thought she was okay to work for the day, but the trip there did not bode well for her stomach. So, Chelsea spent most of the day trying to sleep off her sickness.

We broke for lunch, and drove up to the daycare with the rest of the members who were playing with the children for the day. We ate, and helped the children clean up, while Miguel took advantage of the opportunity to sample some of the local jewelry.

We left the site early, approximately 1:30 pm, and traveled to the house and chapel where Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated. On the way, we stopped by the lava field near the foot of the volcano, and collected some samples to take home. Our journey to Romero’s former dwelling soon continued, and we were there before we knew it.

The other group had arrived before us, and already toured the chapel, so we all sat and listened to one of the nuns describe the life and death of Romero. We found out that his heart was buried there in the garden, while the rest of his body was buried in the Cathedral. Her talk led us to his residence, where everything he owned, from his car to his toothbrush, was put on display for all to see and worship. Our group then traveled to the chapel where he was assassinated, where they still have mass every Sunday.

When we were done there we traveled home, and the Villanova group was given a chance to shower so that they could go to Mass at 5:00 pm. While they were getting prepared, Don Miguel allowed Miguel, Tricia, and me to tag along on his errands as we needed to stop by an ATM to grab some cash. During this ride, we were able to see the ‘Belly Button’ of San Salvador, including the main market and normal hustle and bustle of the afternoon crowd.

Upon return, we were able to shower and help set up for dinner, and enjoyed many a good laugh (while Chelsea lay in bed, sick). The priest who led Mass joined us for dinner, and afterwards told us his history in El Salvador, and let us ask questions about him and his journey.

Our reflection for the night brought a new activity, where we were able to tell each what we appreciate the most about each other, and we also gave up another item for the week. If it was not obvious that we were bonding before, tonight would be the night that it is a concrete fact that we have created great bonds and friendships; those that will last much longer than the week we have spent here.

Griffin Bortzfield (aka Little Foot, Little man, or Ronaldo) is a senior at Fort Hays State University, and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

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