El Salvador Program To Start

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Nine undergraduates, accompanied by Assoc. Prof. David Gill, SJ (Classical Studies), will travel to El Salvador in May to immerse themselves in peasant culture while renewing ties to a country with a long and sometimes tragic Jesuit history.

Student organizers hope the May 20-31 visit, sponsored by the University Chaplaincy, will be the first of an annual series of trips to the Central American nation.

The group's itinerary is being planned by Christian-Based Communities of El Salvador, a social action network that has served as a human rights watchdog group. Half the trip will be spent in the capital, San Salvador, and the rest in the outlying countryside.

According to Fr. Gill, the aim of the trip is "to put names and faces on the problem of poverty. Why is it that El Salvador is so poor and we are so rich? There's no way to know what it's like there unless you go."

In the course of the trip, the Boston College contingent plans to visit the Jesuit-run University of Central America, as well as shrines to Archbishop Oscar Romero and the five Jesuits murdered at UCA during the Salvadoran civil war of the 1980s.

The idea for the trip came from a pair of former high school classmates, Akbar Rahman '99, and Joey Shanley '99, who made a similar journey to El Salvador the summer as students at Bellarmine College Prep, a Jesuit school in San Jose, Calif.

"That trip started me asking questions about why things are the way they are, and how to change them," recalled Rahman. He and his fellow students hope to "learn from the people and hear their stories."

"The Jesuits have long ties to Central America," said Rahman. "We'd like to heighten awareness on campus of El Salvador and see a re-establishment of ties with the country in general."

Return to April 23 menu

Return to Chronicle home page