Why do They Stay?

David Blanchard: There is a mystique here that keeps people like Gene Palumbo, Dean Brackley, other Americans like myself here, and keeps people like you coming back. It’s just hard to put your finger on what IT is, but there is something different and special that you don’t detect in other Central Americans –between a Salvadoran and a Honduran.  Guatemala has wonderful traditions, but that is not IT. Being an anthropologist, I see something different.  Maybe there is something about being the smallest Central American country and being the runt, but I see it as a quality of the people I characterize as mystique.

Sister Peggy: “Do you have a classical radio station in this country?” he said yes and I said, “I’m coming.” That was last on the list, but I knew I could even survive a war if there was music to heal my soul.

The reason I stay is I get glimpses of the promised land, truth & hope and goodness.  The answers are fed by the people who are willing to join hands, speak the truth, make mistakes and carry on always reflecting on the truths of their faith which are basic; not their beliefs but their faith.

Victoria Cavanaugh: I came to ES because I heard ES is a place where you can write God on the backs of buses; I was eager to be in a place where there was so much public faith and public respect

I came expecting to be a nun here and was looking for people of deep faith within the church and expected a religious paradise. I have not found the country where priests and nuns live happily ever after; the Catholic Church in ES is struggling here; it is a paradise of a very different kind of faith.

Eileen Giron Batres: I remained because I was committed to the workers and I would not and could not abandon them.  They do such a great job and depend on this to survive.  It [this business] cannot go on by itself. 

Brenda Hubbard: I made a very deliberate life choice.  In 1989 I left the lucrative life in Japan and came to El Salvador to meet these mothers of Comadres and to witness their daily struggles and protests.  It was a very stark reality.

Francisco Ugarte: I had a need for closure and returned to El Salvador.  There was nothing to prepare me for the emotion I felt when I returned.  Literally when the plane landed at the San Salvador airport on my return, I had an emotional meltdown.  This is where I knew I needed to be.  This is where I choose to live.  This is where I want to raise a family.  This is where I hope to be buried.


    Afflicted with Hope / embracingelsalvador.org is one of many outreach ministries at
    Saint Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA)
    30 West Main Street, PO Box 266
    New Kingstown, PA 17072

    Tax deductible donations for support of this work in El Salvador may be sent to the above address.