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The organization Christians for Peace in El Salvador, or CRISPAZ, hosted myself and ten other University of Dayton students for one week in January. Throughout this week my peers and I experienced the daily routines of those living in the fast-paced atmosphere of San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, as well as the town of San Jose Los Flores, a small agricultural village with dirt roads and one large church at the center. Representatives from CRISPAZ sat down with us on the first night in El Salvador to discuss the purpose of the mission trip. They explained that while we were there we would not participate in what people consider traditional service. We would not be serving food, raising money, or building homes, but instead, we would spend our time in meetings with different organizations in order to gain the knowledge necessary to spread awareness about the issues in El Salvador and the current state of Latin America. Our duties in El Salvador included being attentive listeners, empathizing with the stories of the people we met, and absorbing as much information as possible. The representatives from CRISPAZ referred to this as a “reverse mission” in which our service began when we returned to the United States. We had the privilege of hearing personal witnesses of civil war soldiers, mothers of missing immigrants, and many other people who have spent their lives advocating for human rights causes but have not had their voices heard. This presentation will address the issues of labor, gender, and immigration rights in Latin America as well as my personal experiences of culture shock concerning the violence and poverty present in El Salvador.
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Center for Social Concern, Cross-Cultural Immersions
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Weber, Riley C., "The Reverse Mission: A Service Immersion in El Salvador" (2014). Stander Symposium Posters. 546.
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