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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Compadres y Comadres in December

There are now a few days to reflect on what has been accomplished over the past year and what challenges lay ahead for our program.  On the very positive side, we had a very successful trip this year.  I think we broke new ground by staying in San Jose Las Flores for most of our trip.  Staying with families made all the difference.  We learned so much more about daily life in the community and by the end of our stay, we were very comfortable talking to people and walking the streets of the town.  

I think we also learned much more from our hosts than we would have if we had not stayed with them.  The stories they told us were truly stunning.  Their stories on the war were the most personal and tragic I have ever heard.  We were truly honoured to share these moments with our hosts.

On a more negative note, I have to say it is distressing to see how difficult it has been to attract people to take part in our experience.  At this point, we have two people committed to coming with us.  This time last year we also had two people.  I think I can say that we have certainly done our best to spread the word about Compadres y Comadres, but the results are disappointing.

One hope remains.  There has been some good work done to link the experience up to a professional development course - Religious Studies Part II.  If it is possible to get through all the bureaucracy involved in this process, we may be able to bring this program to teachers throughout the province.  Teachers will be able to take part in our journey and obtain credit as well.  

We have tried this route once before and were not able to get approval.  My great hope for 2012 is that we will be successful.  If we are, the new year should offer all sorts of opportunity for people to get involved in our next trip to San Jose Las Flores.

In this case, we will be able to build on the successes of last year and we will be able to improve the learning that takes place while we are in El Salvador.  Having the backing of a major university will certainly be an impetus to make our experience even more meaningful!

So for now, we will continue to reflect, and I will continue to work on my Spanish.  A new year always brings new promise!