December 2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of the rape and murder of four Catholic missionaries from the United States working in El Salvador. They were Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursuline Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan.
Jose plans to organize an event during the first week of December 2020 to honor their memory. He invited me to join by phone for quarterly meetings to prepare for the event.
After breakfast, Alvin, a cab driver picked me up to drive to a nearby beach. Along the way we saw rows and rows of African palm trees along both sides of the highway for miles and miles. The trees produce palm oil which is in high demand. However, they are a non-native plant that require extensive use of pesticides. They also displace native workers and their lifestyle. Alvin claims the trees kill (matar) the soil.
Alvin and I spent the day walking along the beach, exploring the area, and having a nice lunch together. He proudly showed me several pictures of his family. One photo really touched me. He is sitting and his wife is standing behind him. Her hands are draped lovingly over his shoulders. That one photo showed what a wonderful relationship they have.
With three children, Alvin has to drive his cab everyday of the week. He had a couple of accidents that were not his fault. Unfortunately, his car was totaled each time. So he is on his third car with debts and interest on loans. When Alvin was talking about his family, he seemed so young and alive. When he spoke of his economic problems, he seemed much older and sadder.
But I believe we both enjoyed the day. Alvin served as my cabdriver, my friend, my Spanish instructor, and, although fortunately not needed, I am sure he would also have served as my bodyguard.
Alvin shared with me the full names of all his family - his wife's and those of his three children. Alvin wanted me to know their names. I was reminded how the Latino culture is highly family centered.
Tomorrow marks another turning point. I leave to meet with Good Shepherd Sisters in another part of the country.
My trip to Central America is going much too quickly!