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On and Off the Beaten Path: A Story of Two Parks

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Part 1:  On the Beaten Path at Parque El Boquerón The San Salvador volcano is called the sleeping giant for good reason. It is a geographically broad, primarily stratovolcano made up of layers of built-up lava and tephra (ash, cinders and rock that blasts out as pyroclasts during an eruption and then settles). Stratovolcanoes are usually cone-shaped. More than 40,000 years ago, the immense, conic San Salvador volcano dominated the landscape of El Salvador. A mammoth eruption truncated the volcano, leaving behind an ancient crater in which the Boquerón volcano grew. About 800 years ago, Boquerón erupted and the central cone collapsed, leaving behind a crater lagoon and the profile which we recognize as the San Salvador volcano today. Photo taken on the day of writing this story: the San Salvador volcano as seen from southeast of the volcano, with an approximation of volcanologists believe was the ancient profile of the San Salvador volcano about 40,000 years ago. In the photo, El Boquer

Lutheran Women Share Realities about Violence

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This is a story about women telling hard truths, women coming together to support each other, women working to improve the lives of women and girls in their communities.  Recently, an invitation from the leaders of Gender and Family Ministry of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church was sent out through a communication group of which I am a member. It caught my attention: The Salvadoran Lutheran Church, working with the Office of the Woman of the Lutheran World Federation, has initiated a consultation process about the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women CEDAW  ...  The purpose of the gathering is to bring together women leaders from their communities for a consultation on community contexts regarding gender policies and all forms of discrimination against women. Pastor Cecilia giving out vacunas contra la violencia during the Missions of Healing (2011 & 2012) I thought about Pastor Cecilia giving out "vaccinations against violence" to chil

Election Day: Unofficial Observations

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El Salvador held elections on February 4, 2024, and, in breaking with a tradition of many years, this time I was not a credentialed international election observer.   During previous elections, I served on a team of national and international observers organized by the Salvadoran Lutheran Church. Although the church did not make an observation plan for 2024, the role of observers from the Salvadoran citizenry, political parties, government agencies and international organizations continues to promote trust and transparency in electoral proceedings. Observers have noted that the election day process in El Salvador has been, for the most part, free and fair over the last many years.  In the days surrounding the February 4th election, Salvadoran and international media have widely reported on and analyzed the presumed election of Nayib Bukele to a second presidential term, the constitutionality of his election, and the consolidation of power for his political party, Nuevas Ideas. (I use

It's Wandering Week! Let's take a walk in the center of San Salvador

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Metropolitan Cathedral as seen from inside the National Palace (©2023) The historic center of San Salvador is an absolutely great place for walking. Grab your hat and a water bottle. Take a bus, take an Uber or take your car. Wander the pedestrian walkways, hang out in the plazas, and take in a few sites along the way. There are cafes, hole-in-the-wall eateries and some great new restaurants where you can grab lunch, coffee or an early supper. Day or night, the city center is a safe place to wander. (As always, use common sense, and remember it is most fun to go with friends).  Beautiful artwork can sometimes be found in unlikely locations. When walking, look around at the famous things, and also, keep your eyes open for unexpected beauty. This painting is just outside of the rather rustic parking garage, facing Plaza Morazán. (©2023) If you have your own vehicle, I recommend parking in the parking garage which is located next to the National Theater, off of Plaza Morazán. Wander aroun