A Friendly Face from El Salvador
I began my day at work as usual by checking e-mails, Facebook messages from youth and other online social networking sites on which I have UU’s contacting me. Today however, I had a wonderful surprise in my Facebook message box. My young host brother, Carlos, from the community of Las Marias in El Salvador had created a Facebook account, had somehow found me and added me as a friend.
I met Carlos in July 2009 when I visited his community Las Marias with a Youth Delegation from the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Maryland. I was an accompanying adult advisor to the 15 youth that participated in the two-week trip. Most of our trip consisted of learning about the human rights abuses during the civil war and the story of the non-combatant victims who became guerillas towards the end of the war. Las Marias was founded by ex-guerilla soldiers and now operates as a coffee finca producing the delicious organic coffee, Mas Cafe.
During my time at Las Marias I stayed with a family of five, Carlos, Ovidio, Claudia, Berna, and Lucia. They were wonderful hosts offering their beds for us, sharing their organically grown food and hammocks! They were proud of their accomplishments and rightly so after the horrific violence that they suffered as a people. However, poverty is still rampant in the country and my host family lives on about a $100 dollars a month. Throughout my trip, I was astonished at their giving and compassionate nature even with their current situation.
One of the proud accomplishments they showed me in the community was the internet cafe/computer classroom they were building, which RRUU had raised funds to build for the community. Well I guess it’s up and running! The most striking part of this exciting news is that this young youth and his family living in an impoverished/remote little community in the mountains of El Salvador without fear, attempted to use the internet and took the time to get on Facebook and find me. I was more than thrilled to accept him as a friend and immediately wrote him a message in broken Spanish asking him about how his family and community were doing. Ah…The wonders of the internet!