Post from Hannah Schmit, Augsburg College student who traveled to El Salvador as part of a winter break course. Hannah also recorded a YouTube video about her experience.
The crowded plane jostled onto the tarmac and my travel-wearied body snapped Alert. The piercing lights of distant planes cut through the dark blue haze of night. We had arrived in San Salvador. For the following ten days, I along with my classmates and professor, journeyed through the streets, cities, and lives of the people of El Salvador. We began in the city and were given invaluable experiences with church groups and speakers who explained the history of the tumultuous country and gave us glimpses of the true heart of the people. We traveled to a town called Suchitoto, where we heard pure voices of those who had experienced tragedy as they tried to teach us how to forgive. Another voice from Suchitoto spoke of peace and music, of dancing and love, and most importantly of using the gifts given to us by God to make the most out of our lives. From Suchitoto we traveled to Nueva Esperanza, new hope, and met with calloused hands and friendly smiles. The people of Nueva Esperanza showed us the power of family and community in the face of adversity. We remember those who have shared their lives with us and we honor those who passed in the civil war.