Youth Delegation: Summer 2013
Following monthly Getting Ready meetings and fundraisers since January 2013, sixteen youth and thirteen adults left on Friday, June 28, for the first two-week delegation hosted by Santa Cruz al Salvador specifically organized for youth. The in-country coordinator for this delegation was Jose Rene Melara, a resident of Suchitoto who is also a licensed tourist guide. Youth had been previously divided into chaperone groups with one adult and two youth for rooming and checking in, and they were expected to always walk with an adult whenever outside their hotel, hostel, or home stay.
Arriving at Comalapa Airport in San Salvador at 7:00 pm, the group was met by two coasters, one driven by Julio to take the group to Hotel Armonia and the other driven by Kike Hernandez to take the large suitcases directly to the Centro Arte para la Paz in Suchitoto. Passport control and customs went smoothly and, after an hour of travel to the capital, the delegates were enjoying a late snack of bread and fruit at their hotel. Reflections on thorns and roses led by Pastor Craig ended the day.
The morning opened with devotions and breakfast, which was the pattern for all days of the delegation. The first stop was the National Museum of Archeology (MUNA) where Jose Rene added to the exhibits with his extensive knowledge of history of El Salvador, including its indigenous peoples. Lunch was at Nely’s, where delegates could choose among the many offerings of local food. A drive downtown (with a photo stop at the Salvador del Mundo monument) to the National Cathedral brought the group to Monseñor Romero’s tomb, which was open while the cathedral was closed. There was another stop at El Rosario church, unimpressive from the outside but with beautiful stained glass windows arranged in a rainbow pattern.
Shopping at Super Selectos San Luis supermarket allowed delegates to purchase personal snacks and Claro phones were purchased for the adult leadership. (Jose Rene had previously purchased water and mosquito nets for the stay in Ungo.) The group then went to Oasis Guesthouse to meet with Bishop Medardo Gomez. A gift check was presented to the Bishop for the purchase of hymnal copies for the new Lutheran church in Guillermo Ungo. The group then returned to Hotel Armonia for reflections and bed.
An early departure after breakfast brought the group to Puerto San Juan in Suchitoto to meet with a survivor of the massacre at Copapayo. Rain into the morning made it impossible for Rogelio and Mercedes to travel to Suchitoto by launch, so they traveled by land while the delegation went by water to Isla de los Pájaros (Bird Island), where they were able to view many species at a close distance. Then the group met at the Centro to hear Rogelio’s story of survival. After lunch, delegates received their room assignments. Due to the size of the group, two male youth groups and two other adults were housed at the private hostel Casa de Suchi on the corner of the Centro. Delegates had the option of resting or walking into the town center. The central plaza was under reconstruction, but the weekend street stalls and local shops offered many items for purchase or appreciation. Dinner was at the Centro, (Partial)