Delegation 2018 Overview

by | Feb 21, 2018

From left: Alvaro (ESNA partner), Pr. Karla, Kent, Jane Ann, Elizabeth, George, and Gwen (Translator Brenda took the photo)


By Pastor Karla Kress

This year’s delegation was January 8th to the 18th. The participants included George & Elizabeth Bunch, Jane Ann Harper, and Gwen May from Trinity Presbyterian Church; Pr. Karla Kress from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church; and Kent Madsen from St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church. The delegation was small in size but the feedback from the participants was that they really enjoyed the intimacy and cohesiveness of the group.

Our arrival day was the only time spent in San Salvador this trip.  We visited Divina Providencia, the cancer hospital where Archbishop Oscar Romero lived and was assassinated.  A new tile mural by Fernando Llort was a highlight. In the afternoon we had a talk on El Salvador history at Equipo Maiz, an educational and publishing NGO.

The next day we were off to El Pilar, our newer community in western El Salvador.  We held a combination craft project and fluoride treatment time for the gathered children.  Our artists-in-residence Jane Ann and Gwen were well-supplied to keep the children busy.

From El Pilar we traveled to Suchitoto, the municipality that contains Guillermo Ungo. Suchitoto is known for its artists and tourism.  We stayed at the Center of Art for Peace (see separate article on Sister Peggy).  After a fairly long travel time, had a relaxing dinner at La Posada.  There were numerous activities in Suchitoto the next day followed by dinner and preparation for Guillermo Ungo, our next destination.

Doctora Mayra applies fluoride treatment in Guillermo Ungo

We met with the Hilda Alas clinic staff in Guillermo Ungo, now in their third year operating under the Ministry of Health. We participated in the Scholarship Awards Ceremony and met with the Scholarship Committee.  We were pleased that ten of our university students helped with the Ceremony and attended the Committee meeting.  We also held a combination craft project/clinic day in Guillermo Ungo.  The extra fluoride treatment supplies were left with the clinic to be used later. This year, it became apparent that we as a group are now serving a second generation of students.  One of the prayer children we ate with was the son of one of our first university graduates! We worshipped at Neuvo Fe y Esperanza, the Lutheran church in Ungo.

We finished our trip in the north eastern part of El Salvador, in Santa Marta, Cabañas.  That’s the home of our in-country coordinator, Brenda Hubbard, and the organization for which she is executive director, CoCoSi. We visited historical sites and heard testimony of civil war atrocities.

There was a balance of activities and there seemed to be something for everyone.  The amount of time we spent in Guillermo Ungo seemed just about right to be able to visit our prayer children, and to make the connection with the school through the scholarship committee meeting and the scholarship ceremony.  Highlights varied per person, but included:  time in Santa Marta, birdwatching, history of El Salvador with EquipoMaiz, visit to Suchitoto and time with Sister Peggy, Rotary meeting and visit to El Pilar.  Brenda Hubbard, our in-country co-ordinator was excellent and her leadership was very much appreciated.

The accommodations in San Salvador, Suchitoto, Guillermo Ungo and Santa Marta were all fine.  Fortunately, there was sufficient room at the Centro de Arte para la Paz so that no one had to use the top bunk bed.

Staying healthy is always a challenge.  Unfortunately, one of our delegation members came down with the flu, but Dr. George had Tamiflu and within a couple of days, she was able to fully participate.

Thank you for letting me serve in the capacity of delegation leader once again.

Rev Karla Kress

Mural on the preserved clandestine military hospital in Santa Marta