We recently returned from our weeklong stay in El Salvador, which passed far too quickly. We spent our days working on the homeless shelter, meeting friendly Salvadoreans, dining with Las Señoras de la Caridad, and walking through the beautiful, yet poverty-striken, streets of Armenia.
Our trip coincided with Semana Santa (Holy Week), so we were able to see the beautiful celebratory traditions of Armenia for a third time. On Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday), the Christian community gathered in the streets dressed in purple to greet Jesus. Along with the locals, we carried palms throughout the town and were blessed with holy water. On Viernes Santo (Good Friday), church members were adorned in purple once again, but the Friday procession honored Jesus' sacrifice. Members of the church carried a 2000 pound representation of Jesus carrying the cross, along with the figure of Mary Magdalene, St. John, and Virgen Mary. Following the procession, the people of Armenia constructed alfombras of colored salts, sawdust, and paints. The following procession occurred Friday night until early Saturday morning, in which members of the church wearing black carried Jesus' coffin, Virgin Mary, St. John, and Mary Magdalene over the alfombras. The processions are a wonderful display of the beauty, culture, and community of Armenia.
Las Señoras de la Caridad held a reception for us, in which we dined together and shared our thoughts. This was a very emotional meeting for all of us and truly reminded us why we do what we do. Following the reception, we were interviewed for the local television channel and radio station, which was exciting!
The homeless shelter stands with one completed wall and three walls that are currently being constructed, along with a fraction of a roof. With the money that we brought over last year, we were able to lay bricks to nearly complete the second wall. We have been working with two kind Salvadoreans, fifteen-year-old Javier and his father Don Israel, along with several locals of Armenia.
Due to generous donations, support from our community, and hard work, we were able to donate $6,675 to Las Señoras de la Caridad to continue construction. We also donated $200 to less fortunate families of El Salvador, who were in turn deeply grateful. We greatly thank everyone who has donated their time and effort to the cause, especially our high school community. We also thank those of Armenia who welcome us with open arms, support us, and make the town of Armenia the beautiful place that it is. We especially want to acknowledge Las Señoras de la Caridad, Jóvenes Pro Arte en Armenia, Armenienses and Unidos Residiendo Afuera de Armenia, Armenienses Pro Desarrollo Social, several groups who are also "trabajando por una Armenia mejor" (working for a better Armenia).
We need $8,000 to complete the shelter and hope to do so within the next year. The shelter is expected to open early next year to start housing the homeless of Armenia, but will not yet be fully constructed. Once the structure is built, we will need to purchase beds, washing machines, linens, dining tables and chairs.
If you are interested in helping out or making a donation, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Donating page to find out how you can contribute.