Updated: Aug 9, 2020
El Salvador escapades: día 1
June 14, 2013
This was my first ever blog post written in El Salvador while doing medical missions work after my first year of medical school.
The most important weapon you have is your mind
-Damián Alegría, FMLN Political Leader
Today one thing that really resonated with me was the word “Perspective“. The lens we look through is so powerful and so essential in shaping who you are as an individual, how you view your world, and ultimately whether you are a betterment or detriment to the communities you interact with on a daily basis.
So why the word perspective? What was so unique about this day, June 14, 2013, is that perspective echoed in my mind all day long.
Well firstly, on a literal level, my group and I spoke to various El Salvadorians from various walks in life on political, economical, and social issues the country is encountering. Thus, the varied speakers enabled me to take one topic and dissect it by viewing it through different vantage points or perspectives.
Secondly, perspective can be moved to a more abstract dimension. As I sat intently listening to each speaker, a light bulb went off in my head, and it became crystal clear to me that perspective is actually used at every second of every day. I thought to myself, wow, there is really some force behind this perspective thing!
So in the early morning, my Indiana University School of Medicine peers, a church group from Berea, Kentucky, and I spoke with two major political parties in El Salvador, FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation) party and ARENA (Nationalist Republican Alliance). FMLN is named after F. Martí, who was a very influential leader who fought for equality and justice for the vulnerable and underrepresented social class in El Salvador. ARENA, represents capitalism, enterprise, and privatization.
It was interesting hearing leaders in both parties speak about their outlook on various issues in El Salvador. These men live in the same country, are speaking of issues of the same era, yet persepctive enabled them to view situations in drastically different ways.
Later on in the day, we went to The Univeristy of Central America, and more specifically the Center for Monseñor Romero. This Jesuit priest, who was a major advocate and leader in the movement for equality and justice in El Salvador. And as a result of his passionate fervor for the cause, he was assassinated by the government in 1980.
This event triggered The El Salvadorian civil war, a war between the justice fighters (guerrilla) and the military of El Salvador. It began because of several confounding factors, but to make things simple, it was due to the oppression of the poor and the fact that Bishops and priests endeavored to empower the poor by praying against the injustices and by helping the poor realize that they can fight for their freedom. Once again the idea of perspective comes up. The priests transformed the perspective of the vulnerable populations to catalyze change in their lives.
The last activity we did today was speak with a leader and economists in the FMLN party. He was a guerilla member, who told his intimate, tear-wrenching story of his fight for freedom, justice and equality during the years of late 1970s to early 1990s. His courage and his altruistic perspective and mindset was very admirable. Mr. Alegría proclaimed, “your most important weapon is your mind”. And this seems to truly be the theme for the day.
The mind is powerful and the perspective you decide to take will surely affect– well just about everything. Think about it, you can decide to wake up in the morning grumpy and moody and you will surely have a not so good day. Or you can decide that yes, although your alarm clock didn’t go off, you’re late for work, and your car also decided to act up to top everything off, you can decide to suck it up, stop the pouting and tell yourself things can only go up from here. And I assure you your day will go fabulous from that point forward.
I told myself this about a year ago, I can choose to be a big grump with a funky attitude or I can be a positive encourager, full of hope. So which one did I choose? The first option. No, wrong! I chose the latter. Lol.
Although today I did not necessarily see the effects of having a positive verses negative attitude, I did see the power of perspective and it highlighted a philosophy I decided to adopt on being very cognoscente of the frame of mind I decide to pick for each moment of each day.
Be positive y’all! It’s honestly the only way to live. And one might say well how?! How can I be positive when xyz are going wrong in my life?!? Well what I would say is God is always able and everything is possible (Luke 1:37) through His awesome power and strength (Psalm 89)! Think about it. You were able to use your mind to log on to blogspot and your eyes and mind, once again, to read and comprehend everything I have written thus far. And if you are reading this out loud, well you’ve just proved you are even more blessed; you can also talk! There is too much to be happy and thankful for to focus on the negative. Choose the better perspective– the perspective of positivity, that’s filled with hope and love.
As I reflect on the power of the mind and perspective, I have decided to not focus on the negative circumstances that were, are, of are to come. Rather, I choose the perspective of hope, trust and faith in Christ my Lord. And the more I keep my eyes on Him the more my perspective is supernaturally transformed to 100% positive goodness 24/7 (Isaiah 26:3).
I’d like for you guys to reflect on the perspective you choose the majority of the time? Does your perspective bring you joy? How about grief? Does your perspective draw others close to you or push them far away? I say choose the perspective of positivity. Perspective has power. Let’s us use power well today.
Talks with a deputy from the FMLN party in the Legislative Assembly in San Salvador
The flowers were pretty tiny but the perspective of my phone camera is awesome! Magnifying the beauty through the simple action of the “zooming” function.
-En el jarden de Centro de Monseñor Romero en La Universidad de Centro America
Fun Facts About Jenn Jenn
I can run in 4 inch stilettos and pumps. And no I wasn't running from danger when I had those heels on. Just Jenn and her usual weird shenanigans trying to accomplish someone's dare to run in heels lol.
So, I use to also hate heels because I thought I was too tall (I'm 5'7), but I swear heels take your outfits to a whole new level of cute. I love me some pumps and stilettos. My best friend since age 15, Chelsea (shout outs to you boo), use to buy a new outfit for every part we would go to in high school and I would always try and find the cutest heel to go with my outfit. So I have legit been wearing stilettos since I was like 14/15 year old. Ha!
Jenn Jenn Vibes
Travis Greene- Be Still
This song. right. here. Man, it carried me through some hard times. Enjoy. Really listen to the words