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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We leave this Sunday!

We are hoping to post regular blog entries throughout our trip this summer. We will be using Posterous to link to the blog whenever possible. We look forward to any comments you may have and we especially look forward to sharing this journey with you! Paul

We leave this Subday

We are hoping to post regular blog entries throughout our trip this summer. We will be using Posterous to link to the blog whenever possible. We look forward to any comments you may have and we especially look forward to sharing this journey with you!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Compadres Schedule for this year

Here is the final agenda for this year's trip - very excited to be able to post this. The trip this year will be very different from what we have done in the past - looks like the start of a great experience!

Really looking forward especially to our time in San Jose Las Flores

(With focus on San José Las Flores, Chalatenango, CCR)
7: 45 PM: Arrival to El Salvador on Continental Flight 848. Pick up at Comalapa International Airport and transport to La Amistad Guest House: Avenida Izalco No. 218, Colonia Centroamérica, San Salvador, Tel: (503) 2226-0437
8 AM: Orientation Meeting with Miguel and
9 AM: Meeting with Equipo MAIZ. Popular education experts share with us a brief history of El Salvador.
10: AM: Meeting with CRIPDES
2 PM: Meeting with CORDES
Free evening
7:30 AM: Meeting with National Roundtable on Metallic Mining facilitator, followed by historical-political-cultural tour of San Salvador – including a visit to the National Cathedral, Archbishop Oscar Romero’s tomb, the Divine Providence Chapel (where Archbishop Romero was assassinated), the monument to the civilian casualties of the civil war, the Central American University and the monument to the 5 assassinated Jesuit professors.
8:30 AM: Historical–political–cultural tour, continued
9 AM: Meeting with Concertación de Mujeres
10:30 AM: Visit single mothers sewing cooperative
Afternoon: Visit to the Mayan Ruins of San Andrés.
8 AM: Drive to Chalatenango Department (2.5 hour drive)
9:30 AM: Meeting in CCR in Chalatenango City with Nelson Orellana and the CCR’s Education Committee.
11 AM: Drive to San José Las Flores
12 PM: Lunch at the community restaurant established and operated by organized women. This will also be a chance to meet your homestay families.
3 PM: Meeting with the Community Council Executive where they wíll share the history of the community and their ongoing development and social justice challenges, including their struggle against the Canadian mining companies
4PM: Tour of community and various collective development projects
6PM: Dinner and time for rest and relaxation
NOTE: The following days are slated for San José Las Flores and surrounding communities. The schedule is finalized; however, even when finalized, things may change once on the ground. This year the COMPADRES are trying a few new things. Flexibility will be important, as will an openness to make schedule changes as needed and/or desired.
8 – 11 AM: Meet and greet activity and chance to talk about mutual needs/expectations.
2 – 5 PM: Meet and greet activity continues. (Please note: School is in session. So that teachers do not miss work days, two groups will participate in the meet and greet, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The same dynamic is likely for any other workshops during the week.)
8 – 11 AM: Workshop/dialogue on the impact of violence, war trauma, self-esteem, and anxiety in the classroom – discussion co-facilitated by Kim Kramer. (Please note: Because weekends are when teachers spend leisure time with their families, the workshops/dialogues on Saturday and Sunday will only be in the mornings.)
Afternoon: Debriefing, Spanish lessons by Pablito McGuire, other
8 – 11 AM: Workshop/dialogue on the impact of violence, war trauma, self-esteem, and anxiety in the classroom continues – discussion co-facilitated by Kim Kramer.
Afternoon: Debriefing, Spanish lessons by Pablito McGuire, other
8 – 11 AM: Workshop/dialogue on possible ways to use technology in the classroom, given the local context – discussion co-facilitated by Katie Brown.
Afternoon: Debriefing, Spanish lessons by Pablito McGuire, other
8 – 11 AM: Workshop/dialogue on community organization in the face of mining operations as a popular education tool in the classroom – discussion co-facilitated by Célyne Brunet.
Afternoon: Debriefing, Spanish lessons by Pablito McGuire, other
8 – 11 AM: Workshop/discussion on popular education pedagogy.
Afternoon: Debriefing, Spanish lessons by Pablito McGuire, other
NOTE: For all workshops, a COMPADRES delegate will take systematic notes in order to use the experience in future work. The delegate will work with a local popular educator to also leave a written record in Spanish.
Farewell group outing – Sumpul River Eco-Park. This will be a chance to say farewell to your host families, teachers, and Las Flores community friends.
8:30 AM: Leave for Suchitoto, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lunch in Suchitoto
Short tour of town
Free afternoon and evening in Suchitoto
8 AM: Drive to the Costa del Sol for a BEACH DAY
4:30 AM (sharp): Departure to Comalapa International Airport for 3 participants

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Streetscene in El Salvador

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Two weeks to go!


Our group leaves two weeks from now.  I am hoping to use posterous as a way to send daily updates to the blog so that we will have a record of the trip. As we complete preparations for this year we are also starting work for 2012.  We hope to have many more people join us in July 2012!
This year's trip will be very different and offers some wonderful opportunities to live and learn from our Salvadoran hosts.  Livingwith families will be a new experience and I think this will really enhance the learning and sharing.  Spending the bulk of the time in San Jose Las Flores will also make a big difference.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Compadres Trip - Summer, 2012

It is time to start advertising for the 2012 trip to El Salvador! Even though we are in the final stages of planning for the 2011 trip, it is important to start thinking ahead to next year.

Here is the note I am putting out to staff this morning - any help distributing this would be appreciated!

We are beginning to look for participants for the the 2012 trip to El Salvador.

The trip lasts for 12 days and we leave early July. Participants will have the opportunity to live and work with teachers and staff from schools in the San Jose Las Flores area of El Salvador. More information is available on the trip by going to our web site at You can also follow us on our blog at and we are on facebook at!/pages/Compadres-El-Salvador-Canada/172458377507

If you are interested in coming next year and would like to be added to our e-mail list, please send an e-mail to Paul McGuire through First Class or

The e-mail list is the best way to keep up to date on this year's trip and future meetings and events

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some thoughts on the upcoming trip

Our group is preparing for two weeks in El Salvador. As we get ready for a different trip, one where we will be exploring new relationships in San Jose Las Flores, it is important to record some of the thoughts of participnts.

I think that this trip entails more of an exchange through discussions and gathering information for a next trip. I am interested in participating to as many round table discussions (and meeting as many people) as possible!! :)

I feel that I need to go there and start by knowing the people and gaining a better understanding of the social, political & educational systems of El Salvador.

I think we are looking at meeting those people in the community who will identify what their needs are and see if we can help them address these needs. I too see myself going back and I haven't even been there yet.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First meeting of teacher Compadres group

We met as a group for the first time yesterday. The group is looking at a very different trip this year. We will be spending most of our time in San Jose Las Flores and we will be living with local families - this is a real departure from what we did on our first two trips.

After a very full day, there were some observations that were made that now will be incorporated into the school. Here are some ideas:

Group members expressed an interest in mining issues - we will certainly be discussing these issues with local community leaders and we will look for ways to bring this information back to the classroom.

There is an interest in issues surrounding violence, war trauma, anxiety and socialization. We will look for ways to discuss how some of these issues are dealt with in Salvadoran schools.

There is also an interest in learning more about popular education - we would love to find an opportunity to learn more about this with our Salvadoran partners.

We also would like to investigate how technology is being implemented in the schools and classrooms. We recognize that the schools we visit will not be equiped with many computers, but we know there has been a recent donation of computers to one of the schools - we would like to see how these are being used.

We also talked about process - how will we know what kind of workshops we want to do with our Salvadoran partners? We decided the best way to go is first to spend some time together brainstorming on what we would like to do together. Later in the week, we will plan a full-day workshop based on these discussions.

Finally, we would like to spend an extra day in San Salvador to meet with Concertacion de Mujeres, a coordinting body of women involved in a whole variety of empowerment initiatives throughout the country. We also would like to find a way to transfer our Compadres logo onto a t-shirt! Rene had some good ideas on how to do this.

All in all a great day!