Eden Theological Seminary – Theology and Educational Immersion in El Salvador – January 12-19, 2019.
Welcome to the blog of Pastor Harold Long, and my pilgrimage to El Salvador and Costa Rica on a theological educational seminar. We will be spending one week in El Salvador and then moving on to Costa Rica. I am traveling with Dr. Clinton McCann, Old Testament Scholar, Latin American Liberation Theologian, who specializes in the Psalms, along with other theologians & scholars, and meeting up and studying and learning from many theologians & scholars here in El Salvador.
I will not go deep into the history of El Salvador early on in this blog, mainly do to time, but I will write extensively once I return to the United States on the atrocities the poor and marginalized people have faced here, and just only a few decades ago, with thousands of locals being slaughtered, and much of the war funded by our own country, which is disturbing. For now, I hope you enjoy the blog, and the many lessons and blessings that God will reveal to us all along the way.
Well we left St. Louis, but barley. There was an intense snow storm that blanketed St. Louis with ice, sleet, and snow and in the tune of around ten plus inches of snow. We weren’t sure if we would actually make it out, but by the grace of God we did. Our plane was delayed two and half hours, and by just a few minutes we were able to make it on our connecting flight in Houston, TX, but we did, and we landed in El Salvador without any issues.
- Departure from airport in the U.S. for an afternoon arrival in El Salvador. Greeting by IPM Regional Director Fatima Pacas.
- Welcome, orientation, and check-in at Guest House.
- Dinner at Los Planes de Renderos in San Salvador.
Here is a picture of our group traveling from St. Louis:
We had a great flight in and I shot a few good pics from the plane:
We landed and headed to our guest house where we will be staying all week. My roommate is Sam, he is a theologian from India, and Sam’s awesome. I really enjoy learning with him and from him.
Our first stop on the way to our guest house from the airport was a roadside market, where we were introduced to fresh coconut milk in a bag, with fresh coconut slices in the bag, and fresh roasted cashew nuts.
Pic of Sam and Marie holding up a bag of the coconut water:
Picture of the roadside market, they are everywhere. This was the first person we encountered in conversation on our journey into San Salvador, she lost everyone she loved in the civil war, which is the story for so many, especially those in their sixties and above:
We made it to the guest house, which sets right in the heart of San Salvador, and we are staying here and sharing the house with a group of educators from Chicago. There is no hot water, so the showers will definitely wake you up, I am pretty sure this how yodeling was invented. 🙂
Here is a picture of my room view:
Our guide is Fatima, she works for the company IPM, and she will be with us for the entire trip. She was awarded a full ride scholarship, and will be coming to the USA to study at one of three colleges that accepts here. I told here if she had a full ride scholarship, all three schools would gladly accept her and her money.
We at dinner on top of a mountain, just outside of downtown San Salvador. It was an amazing view, especially eating outside and with the temperature in the eighties.
Dinner, I forget how to pronounce it, much less spell it, but they were good. There were kind of like a quesadilla, only with soft flour shell, stuffed with cheese, beans, and some with and without pork. I also had a fresh lemonade which was fabulous. There were playing disco music, with several classic disco favorites from the Bee Gees. The live music was getting ready to start right when we were leaving or I would of shot a video of that, because they had a lot of drums and percussions in the band, and I love that.
Here is the view of the city, mountains, and volcano sky from our view from the restaurant. The first picture is of my fellow theologian and roommate Sam from India, and in the middle is Dr. Clinton McCann:
We went from dinner to a prayer vigil for a funeral of an amazing servant of the Lord, a lady who do not have her name. In the Catholic tradition here in El Salvador, they mourn and pray for nine days with the family of the lost loved one, and on the ninth day is when their soul is released to heaven. Their wakes and prayer vigils are not in funeral homes or church as customary back in the USA. They meet in the yard or alley of the home of the deceased, in this case we joined dozens of people in an alley, prayed, sang songs, and then they served tamales, dessert, and coffee. Funerals always seem to have a food event around them, even in El Salvador.
I had to use the restroom while I was there, so they took me down another alley and into the home of one of the residents. It was very poor living conditions, with no restroom in the house, all they have is an outhouse out back that they share. This is a pic of the outhouse we had to use:
Here is a pic of the food they served after the prayer vigil:
I was granted permission to take this picture of both little girls, who were full of love and life, despite their tough living conditions:
These are some bonus pictures I shot traveling down the road.
The first one is three people riding on a motorcycle:
Pics from the van as we traveled from place to the next:
Ended the night with Sam in prayer and meditation, and experiencing this time with his India influence was beautiful and soothing.
Up early, Sam obviously loves to sleep in. I am showered, and just sitting and drinking coffee, updating this blog, and doing my morning prayer and reflection out here in the patio area of the guest house. Breakfast at 8:30, then we are off to Sunday services, and then a full day of study and learning.
- Breakfast at Guest House.
- Vist Divine Providence Chapel in San Salvador.
- Visit National Cathedral and Monsignor Romero’s crypt to learn more about Oscar Romero’s life and works in El Salvador.
- Lunch at San Salvador’s Historical Center.
- Meet with Candelaria Garcia and travel to Santiago Nonualco to learn about the four churchwomen martyred in El Salvador.
- Dinner at overnight at Guest House.
A few a Fatima’s friends joined us for our adventures for the day. The one my right is Sandra, and the one on the left I will have to edit with her name later.
Fatima read this reflection for us to start the day:
We hit the road into the city and headed toward the Cathedral: