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San Antonio Abad, Mexicanos

San Antonio Abad

San Antonio Abad is a semi-urban community in San Salvador that is about a 20-minute drive from the Casa. This community, which is comprised of 70,000 habitants, is divided into sectors, demonstrating great economic disparity and facing many diverse challenges such as unemployment, broken families, lack of educational opportunities, and immigration. San Antonio Abad suffered greatly during the '70s, '80s, and early '90s due to violence associated with the war. The community draws its strength and inspiration from its many martyrs, such as the 4 youths and a priest who were killed during a retreat at the parish center, El Despertar, in 1979.

The students spend a good deal of time with the Quintanilla family, which had to flee its home in the countryside in the early '80s because of war-related violence.  Most of the family's 11 children are studying or working in the greater San Salvador area.  The Quintanillas and their neighbors seek social change by participating in Christian base communities, environmental groups, and community organizing.

Role of Casa Student: Mornings are spent visiting community members and important historical sites near the community. Afternoons are spent teaching in a small adult education and literacy program in the home of a nearby community member. The group is comprised of about 10 adults who have had very little access to formal education. In addition, Casa students share meals with the Quintanilla family, participate in various reflection groups and visit public schools.