In the morning we played a Global Awareness game. There was a map of the world divided into regions and we had to place markers where we thought they should go. The markers represented such things as the world’s wealth, permanent housing, debt, military spending, abject poverty (less than $2 US/day), and so on. Very interesting. We were rarely right on our guesses.
Then we watched a very disturbing video called “On the LIne” about the School of Americas, now called WHINSEC. It’s a training center in the US that trains soldiers from Latin America. The training manual used to include torture and interrogation techniques. A large number of graduates have gone on to become members of “death squads” in Latin American countries. I could not find the video we saw online but there are others on youtube that I definitely intend to check out. It’s information I’m ashamed that I never knew. It’s information I’m sure a lot of people don’t know. If you are willing to check it out, just be warned – It’s disturbing. But important.
In the afternoon, we visited Gloria Cruz and heard her story. Gloria grew up in El Salvador. She saw many in her village slaughtered by death squads under the orders of the government. Her two young sisters and her mother were killed in another attack. Gloria and her two children (the youngest being only a few days old) were captured and held for a week. She and her husband and their children fled to Mexico, but had to leave Gloria’s younger siblings behind. They were placed in an orphanage. Her story was frightening and very personal, and not easy to hear.
Because the day was so emotionally exhausting, we went out for supper for Tacos El Pastor. The best way I can think to describe it is Mexican Donairs. Very good, and a much needed break from the difficult realities we had experienced that day.