El Salvador Journal
Twelve days of journeying and learning
Paul McGuire July 2005
I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally.
Oscar Romero SEPTEMBER 23, 1979
This is my journal documenting my trip this year to El Salvador. I took over one hundred pages of notes while on my trip. I do not intend to make this a faithful recording of these notes. Rather, this will be my account; words and images of ten days of learning. I hope this journal will serve as an accurate recounting that will help people gain a better understanding of what took place.
Our days centered on encounters with Salvadoran groups. We usually met with these groups for three hours. This gave us a chance to learn about their history, their current work projects and their goals for the future. We became very good listeners and the stories that we heard were inspiring.
Travel to El Salvador can take the better part of a day. We left Ottawa at 6:30 in the morning and arrived in the capitol, San Salvador around 8:00 PM. We met our guide, Miguel at the airport and we were transported to the Oasis, our home for the next ten days.
The Oasis is an incredible place. Run by ex-combatants, Damian and his wife, Carolina. We met groups, mainly from the US, who were there to work and visit sites from the war and local work projects. The place was rarely empty, a very interesting mix of people. There is some hope here. The United States has done a great deal to hurt this country. It is refreshing to see so many American students willing to learn some of the history of the long relationship that exists between the United States and El Salvador.