If you had asked me yesterday about the year 1989, I would have told you that my older brother Jake was born. The movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was released in theaters, which forever transformed my concept of the backyard. Nintendo released the original Game Boy, a handheld machine that’s younger brother, the Game Boy Color, used to provide me with hours of fun. It seemed like a pretty good year.
Today, I stood in a beautiful rose garden on the University of Central America’s campus and learned that on November 16, 1989, six Jesuit scholars, their housekeeper, and her daughter were taken by armed soldiers from their residences in the middle of the night and massacred on that same soil. I felt the dark energy from what had happened there slither up from the earth through the soles of my feet and consume my body. Later, the group visited other locations where more brutal events had taken place during the Salvadoran Civil War, which lasted from 1979 to 1992. It was disquieting to stand in the same place where such a horrifying war was fought not long ago.
Unfortunately, the aftermath of the war still greatly affects the country today. The war may be over, but this is not a peaceful country. These people’s reality is somber. On the day we visited the school, I saw young children run and play with each other weaving around guards armed with huge guns. It is bizarre to realize that I was blind to the struggle of an entire country, especially now that it is so close to my heart. It is strange to think I’m only halfway through my time here. I can’t imagine how much more I have to learn.