Hi, I'm Amanda Wert, a junior Computer Science and Math major and I'm writing the blog for today.
I'm not sure how to begin because what I, and everyone else here, have been experiencing this week cannot be described, it can only be experienced. This change of your heart and mind can only be effected over many days of experiencing the people here.
Something that especially touched my heart today was the realization that these people are just like me. "They're real people" is one of those phrases people (myself now included) use to try to express this acknowledgement in the core of your being of the reality of the existence of another person that begins to approach your acknowledgement of the existence of yourself. The truth that everyone in the world, including the poor of El Salvador, are human beings with dignity and worth is something that I, and I'm sure you too, have always 'believed' but most of us believe it through faith. We know it should be true but it doesn't materially impact how we live. But now, what I've believed through faith I believe through knowledge.
I came this realization, this knowledge, gradually throughout the week and the experiences that others have talked about on the blog but it hit my fully today when we went to a meeting of one of the Mothers Group. CFCA has this fantastic program where the mothers of sponsored children are formed into groups that help them be more independent. I'm not sure about all the details but the mothers are able to choose what benefits their children need and they make decisions as a group about education, health, and group activities like birthday and Christmas parties. The best part is that they set up the moms to run their own group by having leaders and committees. It was the strength of these mothers and their openness that gave me a window into who they were as people, as humans.
At first it was only the realization that they have goals and dreams just like me. I was able to identify my own personal goals and dreams, things that fill my life with their goals and dreams that fill their life. The second key was that they reminded me of my mom. Not only were they similar in age, but their strength and leadership were such a striking similarity that I saw them not as merely people I should love but that I did love in a way that reached much closer to their core of personhood then how I have loved any other stranger.
I want to close this blog post by saying again how these living, breathing truths cannot be communicated. I've seen lots of movies, read books, been to talks, and even listened to other people talk about their experiences on last year's El Salvador trip that all witnessed to what I have lived this week but I hadn't even begun to understand. I am so thankful that God has poured these graces into my heart. I don't deserve it but I hope I can live up to the purpose He has for them.