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New Places with Familiar Feelings

By Celesté Martinez · Current student from Regis University

I cannot believe a week has already gone by since I arrived in El Salvador! There have been so many things happening since my arrival. This past week we have been busy with orientation, which included visiting all the praxi sites Casa students accompany the people of El Salvador at and really getting to know more of the country.

My praxis site this semester is at Mariona, a community north of San Salvador where a large number of people relocated to during the years of the civil war. In response to la lucha and current experience with violence the directors of my site Lolo and Oti have responded to these difficult realities by embracing traditional artisan practices, meditation, and message therapy. At my site I get to spend time learning more of the historical artisan traditions and visiting communities around El Salvador to share meditation and message practices. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with Lolo and Oti, who demonstrate so much in their work and testimony how suffering can be transformed by the power of reconciliation.

This past week words of wisdom from my grandma Noela continued to arise in my heart, “Think of me.” Throughout my life my grandmother has shared with me stories of how she grew up with her parents. Stories of having to work and quit school to support her family, getting married at a young age to my grandpa, working so hard later in life to receive her GED, many moments of suffering but also ones of great joy from her life. Before I left she told me to think of her when I would meet other people and do daily chores like washing my clothes by hand. And I am constantly thinking of her and my family. Even though I am Mexican American and not Salvadoran, from the communities I have encountered to attending mass in the Crypta de Romero at the Cathedral I am constantly reminded of who am I and where I come from. So even though this is my first time in El Salvador, it feels in a way that I have been a part of this place my whole life. Estoy muy emocionada para todo! Paz y bendiciones!

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