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That a More Humane World Might Be

Noah Bullock visited St. Mary’s on July 8 to his experiences in El Salvador with ten parish members. He gave us some excellent ideas on how best to sustain our parish’s relationship with El Salvador.

Noah is also working on a project, That a More Humane World Might Be. His first newsletter can be read by clicking here. You can learn more about the project, and also make a donation to support his efforts, at

Our First Newsletter That a More Humane World Might Be is a study on poverty, development, and human rights in El Salvador that will ultimately become a published book. The project has both photographic and written pieces and will serve as resource for cross-cultural understanding and partnerships for people and other organizations that participate in foreign outreach and mission programs. We will be doing research in El Salvador from August of 2009 to August of 2010, and during the course of the year, we will be sending out this newsletter regularly to update and inform people about new articles, photos, and the progress we are making on the ground. We believe that this project is important for all who believe in working for a better world, because partnership must be our principal strategy for sustainable and real development. The first step in forging fruitful partnerships is knowing who your partners are, and learning what they have to give to you, and what you can do to help them.

Fund Raising We are currently raising the funds to support the two co-authors, Jeff Hammond and Noah Bullock, while they are in El Salvador doing research, interviews, and taking photos for the book. To promote the project, we are making presentations on mission and development in El Salvador in Massachusetts, New York, and California. All donations to the project are tax deductible through the Cristosal Foundation, and individuals who make donations can chose an original print from project photographer Jeff Hammond’s El Salvador collection. Our goal is to raise $15,000 by July 31st when we will be returning to El Salvador to get started and our final goal is to raise $26,000 by the end of the year. (See our photo catalogue and budget at

In El Carmen, the people laugh when they talk about the early days of the community when everyone lived under trees and tarps. The laughter rolls harder when the men start joking about their first post war job as clumsy masons building their families homes in a housing project funded by the European Union. “Does that guy realize how crooked his walls are?” Since the end of the war, some families have abandoned the community in search of work, while others stayed and their children have since moved out and built new homes in poverty’s old style, bamboo sticks and large plastic tarps.

After a community meeting, Señora Luna and her granddaughter Marina invite me to join them for dinner at their house. Marina is one of six children and shares this house with her two brothers and their families. The two youngest boys begin to inquire about my camera bag. I pull my camera out and hand it to the youngest boy, Nelson. Nelson and Eric show me around the house as Maria and her brother discuss how unity within the community has been used to overcome some of the disadvantages of poverty. Despite this pioneer community’s unity and strong will, the house that engulfs me is a reminder that, as the community’s second generation comes of age; the hope and gains of the peace accords are stagnating for many.

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