by Bob Burrell
It was an early wake up for the Sister Parish delegates from the North and South. This morning we traveled through the valleys and hills of northern El Salvador in the Chalatenango region to San Jose la Montaña.
It is a community of fifty families that is partnered with Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut. This community was rebuilt starting in 1987 due to the harsh effects of the Central American Civil War that created much destruction and resulted in refuge settlements. In this case, the San Jose community fled as refugees to Honduras. They reorganized their return to a new location as the existing town was destroyed by the El Salvadoran military. The rebuilding by the families is truly incredible as they built infrastructure and constructed a remarkable church. Our delegates met with several families in this worship space where we learned about the history and formation of the community. In addition, we heard how migration to the U. S. is affecting the community.
We left San Jose that afternoon to travel to the Sumpul River for a quick swim and some relaxation.
We left the beautiful river valley and headed onward to Potrerillos to meet with this community that is partnered with a church in Decorah, Iowa. We gathered with several community members and leaders in the community hall. We watched a video of the civic work that the residents have accomplished. We also heard from the town leader about a 2020 goal of providing a water distribution system that would carry water to more residents and provide longer collection time for households. What is remarkable is the community has taken on these infrastructure projects with community volunteers and at very little cost. Our delegates were inspired by their community spirit.
We left the community of Potrerillos that evening to meet up with our host families in Guarjila. Our vans arrived at the town where we had a quick dinner. After dinner, we were sent to our host families. It was a long and sometimes exhausting day, but one filled with awareness, hope, and God’s spirit.