Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just visiting

I picked up Andrea Nenzel, Hermana Andrea, at the airport on Monday, and since then I've been privileged to be part of some wonderful visiting and story-telling.

Andrea and Margaret Jane Kling opened the Calle Real refugee camp in 1985, during the height of the Civil War in El Salvador. The camp, on land owned by the Archdiocese of San Salvador, became a place of refuge for many families displaced by the war; Andrea and Margaret Jane accompanied them, working with the Salvadorans to keep the camp healthy and fed and to keep the community safe. They worked with staff from the Archdiocese, and yesterday one of their favorite colleagues, Gabina Duvon de Garcia, came to lunch. Gabina, or Dina as she's usually called, is one of my favorite colleagues too - she still works for the Archdiocese' Pastoral de Salud office and was my main contact for our mission in San Juan Opico. Her connections with Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace span a quarter century, so it was no challenge to keep the conversation flowing.

Many of the Calle Real refugees resettled rural communities in the Suchitoto area, and today we went to visit two of those communities, Marianela Garcia (named for a human rights advocate who was killed during the Civil War) and El Bario. In each place, Andrea and Margaret Jane found many friends, got abundantly hugged, caught up on children and grandchildren, looked at old photos and remembered stories from the Calle Real days. And I captured a few of those moments on camera. I also photographed a few Calle Real photos, but those are for the next post.

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