AVP in El Salvador
by Shirley Way
With support from the Sharing Fund, Shirley Way and Fazilee Buechel visited El Salvador to facilitate workshops there. Here are excerpts and pictures from Shirley's emailed reports:
It is really good to be back in El Salvador. The social climate is very much improved from a year ago. People openly smile and laugh and greet one another on the street.
Salomon Medina, Fazilee Buechel, Mario Gonzalez and I facilitated a trauma resilience workshop over three days in the state of Cabanas, close to the Honduran border. Salomon, Mara Komoska and I facilitated a basic and an advanced workshop with the same group three years ago. Some of the participants walked two hours each morning to Santa Marta (to the workshop). The participants are part of the organization Co-Madres, founded by Oscar Romero. All have loved ones who were disappeared. It is truly a gift to reconnect and go a little deeper.
By far most of the participants have not yet learned to read or write. Solomon Medina, Fazilee Buechel, Mario Gonzalez and I facilitated a second trauma resilience workshop, finishing in San Salvador. The participants were again part of the organization Co-Madres. All have lost loved-ones in the war. One participant joined the resistance when he was 15. An older brother was killed and he fought for some years before leaving the country. When he returned he was captured by the army and tortured. Thirty years later he has increasing debility in his legs and more debilitating is his distrust of almost everyone, his self-isolation and his need to avoid certain locations and army soldiers. And he is clear that he can heal. He will be participating in the training for facilitators workshop. At least two participants were forced to move from their homes during the war and have not returned. Others live in what were their homes. One woman spoke of participating in a mass presided by Oscar Romero. The army opened fire on the parishioners, killing several and wounding several more. The struggle continues with great unemployment and poverty. So grateful for the support you offer and the funding from NYYM's World Ministries and Witness Activities Fund.