Showing posts from March, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

It was a warm Sunday afternoon.  We parked in the lot behind the art museum (MARTE).  A couple of girls walked by carrying replicas of overstuffed chairs and pink ballet shoes.  We walked to the front of the Presidential Theater alongside a girl with a large, foam teacup costume and a couple of mothers fussing with big, green feathery things.  We wondered if these were cast members or if children were dressing in costume to watch the performance of Bella y La Bestia (Beauty and the Beast) . So, yes, as it turns out we were lining up in front of the theater right alongside the cast members, with their costumes half-in-hand and with their make-up sparkling.  This performance of Beauty and the Beast was a production of the Macholah School of Dance - two shows on one date to benefit a shelter for persons with cancer who live far outside of the capital city of San Salvador and need treatments in city hospitals.  (Visit to learn more about Albergue La Divina Misericordia.

Off the Beaten Path: El Tunco

One of our favorite vacation spots in El Salvador is Playa El Tunco.  When we need a little break from community work or city work and want to stay for a few days at a little fancier place, this is where we like to go.  Depending on traffic, it's just a quick (1 hour or less) drive south of San Salvador to Puerto La Libertad, and then just a little further west to El Tunco. Like many of El Salvador's beaches, the entrance to El Tunco is off of a tiny, one-way, gated road.  There are a few places to stay off of the eastern end of this road, and more in the center of a tiny beach town.  The town has just 2 streets, with lots of local shops and small places to eat.  The beach itself is very narrow and rocky at high tide, but at low tide there are patches of flat, dark sand which provide extra walking space and good material for building castles.  It's not much of a swimming beach for casual swimmers due to the surf and rip currents, although at low tide anyone can ju

Happy Birthday to Community Rutilio Grande

In a small community not too far from El Paisnal, there is a small hamlet named Comunidad Rutilio Grande.  Every year during the second week of March, this community celebrates its founding as well as the life and work of the Jesuit priest for which it is named.  Each day of the celebration features something special:  a pageant, a dance, a race, a mass.  On March 15th, residents of Comunidad Rutilio Grande mark the exact date on which the community was born. In 1991 as peace talks were taking place near the end of El Salvador's civil war, negotiations with the government and land-owners created spaces for poor families to rebuild their lives.  The families of Comunidad Rutilio Grande had lived together as refugees at a camp in Nicaragua during the conflict, and on March 15th were flown back to El Salvador where they slowly made their way to the place that would become their new home. We were invited to the March 15th celebration when we met up with friends from the comm

My New Charla

Last year, I blogged about my charla at the Mesa Final  during the Mission of Healing Family Wellness Fair, and I received a surprising amount of feedback from people who found the transcript of my little presentation to be both educational and entertaining. This year, a pharmacist and my husband took over the charla about antibiotics and super bacteria.  Luckily there was another topic just waiting for its charla debut at the fair:  let me introduce you to my new charla....Menopause! OK, gentlemen, before you decide not  to read this blog post, you should know that there were plenty of men of all ages who very much enjoyed this charla.  So, stick with me here and maybe you will learn a little something and be slightly entertained. I prepped my little charla space at each of our sites with the following:  a few pink hearts taped up on the wall or hanging from the canopy (because February is the month of amistad y amor) , my big pink bag with art supplies for the craft (yes, menop

40 Years: Remembering Padre Rutilio Grande

On March 12, 1977, Father Rutilio Grande was driving on the road between Aguilares and El Paisnal. An old man and a boy were riding with him.  Because he was an advocate for education, because he worked to organize poor farmers in his community, because he believed in freedom for the oppressed people around him, Father Rutilio Grande was assassinated.  Every year on the anniversary of his death, people who were and are inspired by Father Rutilio's life work gather to honor his memory. With friends from communities repopulated after the war, with friends from the Catholic church and with friends from the Lutheran Church, we walked the route from "The Three Crosses" - the memorial by the side of the road, the place where an old man, a boy and their priest lost their lives - to the town of El Paisnal.  We listened, we walked, we hugged, we sang, we held hands, we took photos, and we sat for a while in the church. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Rutilio Grande'