A very special pilgrimage – IX

The last day in El Salvador before the trip back to the UK the following day.  What a wonderful way to spend the day at a CAFOD project.  Debbie went with 11 other pilgrims to the community at Puentecitos, a small village near the border of Guatemala, who are improving community life by opening small businesses and using organic farming methods. This is the community th

at is featured in Connect 2 El Salvador scheme.

Debbie with Erasmus

They were met by Erasmus, one of the project leaders.  Sadly his father-in-law had just died in an accident and Debbie says, “despite that, he wanted to remain with us till his replacement came.  He said that our presence and support was a great help to him! I was so moved.”

 

We met Julia and her lovely family.  They were the featured family in CAFOD’s geography pack for primary school and it was wonderful to see how they had grown with a new addition to the family!

New addition to the family

Some of Julia and Fedel’s family

The group were told about all the projects that the community were involved in with CAFOD’s support working through the local partner Solidarity CVX.

>>  See here for more information about the Connect 2 project

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Tortilla made my Julia’s eldest daughter

The group were given a tour of Julia’s home and saw the chickens, pigs, sacks of corn from the previous harvest, hand-made baskets and shampoo.  Such a joy to see the community so empowered!  They were then made even more welcome with a wonderful lunch cooked by Julia’s eldest daughter on a stove using wood.  Debbie noted

“I was breathing in the smoke from the wood  even from where I was sitting and it struck me how the family have to breath in these unhealthy fumes everyday!  It made me realise  how important our Power to Be campaign was to get the World bank to invest in renewable and safe energy”

>>  Sign the petiton to the World Bank

Before the lovely lunch the community sang to their visitors

Then came the lunch which was so lovingly prepared for us.

“I was surrounded by the community and could hardly speak more than 5 Spanish words but we got on great.  Our driver was invited for lunch too and he had a Google translator on his mobile phone.  With that, we had a fun and interesting conversation.  Just goes  to show how technology can help!”

 

Partaking in the lunch provided by the Puentecitos community

 

After lunch, the community were so keen for us to see how their efforts literally bore fruit.

Showing the produce of the land

“We were taken to the neighbour’s land to show us their numerous fruit trees.

It was fantastic to see first hand what I have been sharing with volunteers and supporters in the UK.

I can see how empowered  and dignified people are.  They don’t want hand outs.  They are determine to improve their lives by putting in effort and time to get there.  It has certainly paid off!”

 

Little ones enjoying the air condition van

 

The little ones were thrilled to sit in the air conditioned van and watch a cartoon!

 

 

 

 

Community at prayer

The community pray together every Thursday and they always pray for CAFOD.  How wonderful we are thought about and prayed for too.

It was a shame that Edelmira (who was the featured person for Harvest 2017) couldn’t be with us as the local transport left before she could get to the stop but she sent her warm wishes to all of us.

Everyone came away full of hope and Joy.

Great to meet Julia in person

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>> Find out more about El Salvador

 

A very especial pilgrimage

This time the news are about our very own Debbie Purfield, who has flown all the way to El Salvador for a two weeks pilgrimage on the footsteps of Oscar Romero. From the 13 to the 24 November, Debbie will be visiting some of the places linked to key moments in Romero’s life. What motivated the trip? Debbie told us:

C2-El-Salvador-2016_opt_fullstory_largeI have always been so inspired by Oscar Romero and his remarkable life. When I heard that the Romero Trust were organising a pilgrimage to El Salvador, I felt it was an opportunity not to be missed, which would allow me to walk in the footsteps of Oscar Romero and learn more about him and his country.  At the same time, CAFOD’s presence is very active in El Salvador (with projects such as the Connect 2 El Salvador and Eldermira and her community who was the Harvest Fast day focus), and this gave me an additional motivation to visit the country and experience CAFOD’s work first-hand.  I am sure I will be inspired by the people and learn more about this saint whom I find so human and yet God-like! When I come back I hope to be able to transmit this incredible experience and my enthusiasm to our volunteers and supporters!

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Oscar Romero which makes the pilgrimage even more relevant.

Debbie assured us she will be praying for the work of CAFOD and holding us all in prayer. And we will pray for her and her special spiritual (as well as physical) journey.

Excess for Ethiopia – Connect 2

Sacred Heart – Leighton Buzzard have come up with great ideas to support CAFOD’s work over the years both with fundraising and campaigning. Their latest venture was an ingenious one for Sebeya (in Ethiopia) as the parish is part of the Connect 2 scheme.

Bob Garrard (CAFOD volunteer and part of the Justice and peace group) writes:

J&P group prepares for “Excess for Ethiopia”

“During the summer months Sacred Heart parishioners here in Leighton Buzzard have been blessed with a good crop of fruit and vegetables. We had been thinking how we could help our brothers and sisters in Sebeya, Ethiopia, with whom we are linked through CAFOD’s Connect2 Ethiopia scheme.  Mary (member of the J&P group) had the brilliant idea that by making jams and other products from our harvest excess we could sell them to raise money for the community in Sebeya.  We cannot not send them perishable food, but can support them with funds to buy seeds and provide irrigation.  This would really empower them to grow their own food.

>> Find out more about the Connect 2 Scheme

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