Showing posts from January, 2019

Just Click: Presidential Campaign 2019

Sometimes the cell phone is at hand, and from my co-pilot seat I am able to grab a couple of pics as we make our way through traffic.  There are about 10 campaign days left before the 2019 Salvadoran presidential election.   Here are a few images from the January street campaign (and just a note that citizens vote by marking a black X over the party flag(s) associated with their chosen candidate): Let the flag wars begin!  The flag game in Apopa, according to a local resident is:  Whoever has the highest ladder wins. Earlier in the day there were FMLN rallies, including one we drove through here at the Shafik Handel memorial roundabout.  I was too busy being with co-pilot duties during the rally to get a photo of the crowd, but  the flags remain. "Vote for Calleja.  Vote for jobs."  The ARENA candidate does not have nearly as many flags up as the FMLN.  However, in the past few days, volunteers have been out handing car flags with Calleja's face on the

Back to School: Reflections on the State of Education in El Salvador

Last week, my husband and I attended a conference on education, which was hosted by El Faro (a digital media outlet which is well respected for quality reporting in El Salvador).  The conference featured a panel consisting of a member of the faculty at the UCA, a representative from UNICEF, and a regional director from the Salvadoran Ministry of Education.  Since this week marks the start of the 2019 school year for most public school children in El Salvador, it seems like a good time to share a few of the themes which arose during the conference. The PAES Like most places, El Salvador does standardized testing over the course of students' scholastic careers.  The PAES (Prueba de Aprendizaje y Aptitudes para Egresados de EducaciĆ³n Media - Test of Learning and Skills for Middle Grade Graduates) does not greatly impact students' advancement up through grade 9, but in order to graduate from high school, students need to pass this test.  In each subject area, a student's gra

Crunch Time

At some point, in the financial realm of scholarship programs, we arrive at Crunch Time - those stressful days when coordinators are still scrambling to find sponsors, and committees worry that they have not raised sufficient funds to fulfill the promises made, and in-country coordinators suddenly add students to the program, and church treasurers are out of town and dates to make international wire transfers arrive, and the students need to register for school and then suddenly it is  the first day of school and pastors and leaders start asking, "when are you sending our quotas?"  Crunch Time. And the thing about Crunch Time is it arrives in December, when life is already crunchy enough with Christmasy things. So, now that it is January, let's talk about scholarship programs - specifically, scholarship programs which support children and youth in El Salvador and are lovingly funded by churches (or similar charitable entities) in the United States.  Scholarship progra


My husband drives.  I am the co-pilot. The job of the co-pilot is to prevent death to the pedestrian who is standing in the middle of the road while wearing black clothing at night and carrying groceries with a kid or old lady at his side.  Also: to prevent inadvertent squeezing of the delivery dude on his China Wok motorbike into the semi-trailer which is loaded with sugar cane as the China Wok guy decides to create a fifth lane of traffic on a two-lane road.  Oh, and also:  to shout out "tumulo" (which means speed bump) when approaching an unpainted hump that sneakily runs the width of the shade-dappled road and which causes one's passengers to go airborne when one hits it at full speed. We listen to salsa music or political updates accompanied by my shouts of Bike!  Hole!  That guy's turning!  Stop!  Tumulo!  Hole!  Chucho (dog)!  Sometimes in English, and sometimes in Spanish - whatever comes out quicker.  Every now and then, my husband says, "Stick your

The Day of the Magi Kings

On the twelfth day of Christmas, all across the globe, Christians celebrate the first day of Epiphany.  Epiphany means revelation.  The story of God revealing little Jesus as the King of Kings to the world outside of land of Bethlehem is recorded in the Bible, in the Book of Matthew.  We are told that magi from the east interpreted the appearance of a new star in the sky as a sign of the birth of a king.  Following the star, the magi eventually end up at a house, where Mary is with the little child Jesus.  The foreign visitors bow down to worship the child and present gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Theologians reflect on the meaning of this revelation -Jesus who was born in humble circumstances is identified as the King of the Jews, sent not only for the salvation of the chosen people of Israel, but for all the world beyond. In a mix of theological symbolism and legend, "magi" became three "wise men" named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, who rode on a hor