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Showing posts from June, 2016

Precious Water - A Hike to the Source

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The people of this place live within their history as much as they live within their daily lives.  Beyond the highway, beyond the cobbled town streets, beyond the dirt road, they are isolated.  Atrocities during the war years left scars on their bodies, scars in their hearts and holes in their families.  They point to the places where women and children were massacred.  They sing their songs and they tell their stories.  This is a good thing.  This is a healing thing.  This is the work of the church in this place.

Little by little as family members were wounded in the struggle or and others were driven from their homes, the town was essentially abandoned.  Families sought refuge Fe y Esperanza, the Lutheran refugee camp Faith and Hope.  After the war, the old people returned home.  Some of the younger people went on to study or work in the city, and others joined their parents in tending the family farm plots.  The soil is fertilized by the milk cows that wander the fields where corn,…

Got Cilantro?

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For anyone who grows cilantro or buys cilantro, you know that it is a short-lived crop and does not keep very well in the fridge or on the counter.  So, when you have a batch, it's important to find good ways to use it. It's also important to wash it well by grabbing the bundle by the stems and swirling the leaves in a bowl full of water.  Repeat this step if your bundle is pretty dirty.  Then remove any slimy stems or leaves.


One of my favorite things to make with cilantro, whether in El Salvador or the US, is chirmol.  It's easy, it's tasty, it's healthy and it goes with everything.

Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes, chopped small
1/2 medium onion, chopped small
Juice of 1 large lime
Chopped cilantro to taste
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Mix up all the ingredients and let it sit for a bit, then enjoy!  You can keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for a week.



No matter how big a batch of chirmol you make, you will no doubt have leftover cilantro.  A g…

El Baby Shower

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Balloons were going up as I arrived.  Three long tables were covered with striped cloths, and blue plastic resin chairs were set all around.  The welcome table had shiny blue ballon shaped like a baby carriage stating "It's a Boy" taped to a stick which also had a foam figure of a little boy taped to it, all stuck into a little basket with some yellow fru-fru.  The expectant mom arrived with party favors, and the hostesses got their game supplies together.

You might think it is a little funny that in El Salvador, a baby shower is called a "el baby shower" (just emphasize the SHOW-er over the ba-by).  The invitation for this shower went out by email to the mom's many church friends.  It was interesting to see the "reply all" responses that filled my inbox..."what a beautiful invitation" and "what a wonderful blessing."  Not a single person responded with a plan to attend or not to attend.  

This is not the mom's first baby,…

Caminata Ecológica - Ecological March 2016

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We arrived in Parque Cuscatlán before the crowds.  St. Francis was there to greet us.  We met Friar Domingo and a few other coordinators.  Later we would realize that these folks were dynamic, energetic, gifted speakers.  Little by little small groups of people arrived.  Many carried posters.  Solidarity t-shirts were the uniform of the day:  ACT Alliance, Water Forum, No to Agri-Toxins, No to Mining.  If you didn't have an eco-t-shirt to wear, you pulled out your all-occasion-marching Oscar Romero shirt.  You can't go wrong bringing the Monseñor to a march of the people.

June 2, 2016 marked the 16th annual Ecological March from San Salvador's central park to the Legislative Assembly.  The theme:  Love The Planet!  Small groups from Lutheran Church communities arrived, and the turn-out from the pastoral corps was impressive.  The Salvadoran Lutheran Church folks all marched together, and with a string of bright blue water jugs and a giant painting of Jesus holding the wor…

Notebook Notes and Thoughts that Stuck

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The Foro de Seguridad y Soberanía Alimentaria(Food Security and Sovereignty Forum) at the University of El Salvador in San Salvador included presentations on Climate Change, Water Contamination and Responsible Use, Trade Agreements and Economic Forces which Impact Food Prices (including product dumping by international businesses into El Salvador) and Minimum Wage Disparities for Agricultural Workers (and discrimination as one impacting factor).

The forum began with a brief address by the moderator.  I wrote down two things which he said:   "One goal of this forum is to help us to construct a culture of growing food for ourselves without chemicals and without genetically modified seeds."   Recognizing that without water, agriculture cannot happen, the moderator stated, "The next war in El Salvador will be over water.  Water in San Salvador and in our other cities is already rationed.  We need to recognize the crisis."

Over all the years in which I have walked with…

Student for a Day

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The forum was entitled Seguridad y Soberanía Alimentaria en El Salvador - Food Security and Sovereignty in El Salvador.  The event was hosted by the University of El Salvador and featured speakers and honored guests from a number of ecologically-focused organizations, including the Salvadoran Lutheran Church, which is how I happened to be invited.

In previous visits to the university, Pastor Santiago and I have met with student groups and visited with faculty connected to students from the church.  This was the type of meeting I was expecting, but as I wandered onto the campus, found the economics quad, saw the large number of people in line outside the auditorium and learned Pastor Santiago was an honored guest, I realized this was something different.

Pastor Santiago and I sat in the front of the lecture hall with other invited guests.  The hall was filled with fifth year economics students, for whom this was a required event.  About 20 of the senior students who wore bright blue t…