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Showing posts from November, 2012

Violence and Peace

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The streets were closed surrounding the plaza in front of the Cathedral.  Traffic was clogged at the crossroads of stoplights and barricades.  We waited to the tunes of horns honking and buses revving up their engines.  Our driver identified us - a small group of North Americans in solidarity with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church - and the police let us through.  We parked right next to the cathedral.  "What luck!" we thought.

As we emerged from the micro we could see the crowd quickly gathering.  It was beautiful - a sea of white shirts under a bright blue sky, each person wearing a gentle outline of a dove with an olive branch and the words, "Pastoral Initiative for Life and Peace."  We hardly had time to take in the scene when Pastora Gloria assigned us in pairs to her volunteers who firmly grabbed us by the arms and whisked us to our row of white plastic chairs under the shade of a canopy.  "The front row...what luck!" we thought.  We sat down and looked…

Little Travelers

So, at one point, after a near riot of children and teachers ensued, I promised myself that I would never take another Beanie Baby to El Salvador.

At another point, I reconsidered this position because a wonderful program called Armas ni de Jugetes (roughly, weapons are not toys) teaches kids to be peacemakers and offers them the opportunity to trade toy guns and toy weapons for stuffed animals, positive toys or school supplies.  Seeing a kid cuddle a Beanie Baby instead of sticking a plastic revolver into his waistband is worth the hassle of hauling these little creatures by the 50-pound-suitcase-full through airports and customs.

So, occasionally I pull a decrepit suitcase full of Beanies behind me through the aduanas, and hand it off to an amazing pastor who is dedicated to teaching kids and communities to fight violence with love, but I haven't given a lot of thought to the impact which the giving of the Beanies may have on the donors, until this past Sunday.

On Sunday, a sma…