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Monday, July 14, 2014

Attending the 30th anniversary of CRIPDES

delegates get ready for a great day of story-telling

The 2014 trip is now over.  Most of the participants left for Canada yesterday.  Heather (my wife) and I have decided to stay for an extra week to work on our Spanish and get to know the beautiful town of Suchitoto better.

This gives me more time to reflect on this year's trip.  It is amazing how much you can pack into ten days!

One of the experiences that I am still processing is my day at the CRIPDES 30th anniversary.  I attended this gathering along with Miguel Mejia, our team leader last Saturday in San Salvador.  I sit on the board of Salvaide and so I was honoured with an invitation to the celebration.

We met in the Auditorium Hospitalito la Divina Providencia, just up the road from the chapel where Oscar Romero was assassinated in March of 1980.

We started at 9:00 am and the idea was to finish by 1:00 pm.  The agenda included almost all of the founders including Miguel.  Each person was asked to tell stories about work that involved CRIPDES in the past 30 years.

I missed alot - I continue to work on my Spanish, but it was hard to keep up with the rapid pace of the story-telling!

The speakers talked about the war, the repopulation of villages during the war, the state of human rights during the war, government repression, capture and torture during the period of the conflict and some of the current challenges faced in the different regions served by CRIPDES.

I really wished I could have understood more about what Miguel said, so later in the evening I asked him what he spoke about.

Miguel speaking to the audience at the CRIPDES celebration

He told me he had talked about the time when he was being tortured as a political prisoner and how he warned the guard he needed to go to the bathroom or else.  The guard didn't listen and he ended up cleaning up after Miguel.  

The audience saw the humour in this story.  As Miguel said, Salvadorans always like to see the funny side of things.  Amazing that people can joke about such things, but I think it is better than becoming overcome by the evil that existed during the war.  He actually met his torturer after the war and pointed him out to his son.  The man was terrified, but Miguel left him alone.

It is wrong that these things happened and it is unjust that the killers and torturers got away with what they did.  Salvadorans remember what happened and they still want to see justice done - some day I really hope this happens.

In the meantime they are still able to celebrate the amazing things that groups like CRIPDES have done.

traditional dance at the CRIPDES Celebration

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