CTK Parishioners helps send Parish youth on mission trip to San Jose Las Flores in El Salvador
We spent two weeks immersed in the culture of a very resilient people, every one of whose lives have been affected by the 12 year Civil war of the 1980s. A large part of our stay involved work in the village of San Jose Las Flores. The community school, lead by the principal, Nelson, very quickly adopted us as their own. We were welcomed by a walkway lined with children throwing flowers and smiling and we quickly jumped into work alongside equally as happy staff members, parents, and community leaders who guided our work. By the time we left the village, a retaining wall had been built and a pond area cleared in which to raise fish in their school garden, almost every corner of the school had a fresh coat of brightly colored paint, and an area for a chicken coup had been leveled. EVERYTHING was done by hand with pick axes, shovels, and buckets. We marveled at the fact that the entire town had been built this way – with such patience, hard work, and A LOT of sweat! It was hot and more than once I heard students express their gratitude for clean drinking water! More impressive than the amount of work our St. B students accomplished, was their openness to connecting with the local people. Despite the language barrier, there was continual banter going on around the worksite as the stone masons, Jose Manuel, and Miguel laughed at our feeble efforts to haul buckets of cement and hack out huge roots with machetes. Some of the school teens like Flora and Milton, spent every spare moment working with us in the pond and almost just as much time teasing certain members of our team! On our last day, Flora left us with a beautiful farewell letter that left most of us in tears when it was translated for us. We attended dance classes, and English classes, played soccer, and tended the school gardens and chicks. We learned the expected lessons about poverty, war, injustice, and inequality. But even more importantly we learned about solidarity, generosity, selflessness, patience, and the dignity of the human person.