Live music. Time capsule. Ashes. Dirt.
On February 17th, we celebrated Ash Wednesday in a very special way by inaugurating the 2010 Lent Build and digging the foundation for the first four houses of the Strengthening the Getsemaní Community Project. A local folk music band played flutes and sang as more than 150 guests arrived for the ceremony, including representatives from churches, non-profit organizations, governmental entities, not to mention families from Getsemaní and surrounding communities. Getsemaní ADESCO president, Martha de Sánchez, welcomed everyone to the community, and then César Henríquez, representing the Fundación Monseñor Romero, reflected on Monseñor Romero´s legacy and invited everyone to work together and build peace in El Salvador. These words were then echoed by Habitat El Salvador Executive Director, Jorge Molina, and Myers Park Presbyterian Church team leader, Bruce McIntyre, who invited other partners to join the three-year project.
The ceremony closed in a very moving way, when project partners buried a time capsule in the community park. Filled with photos of Getsemaní as well as a letter from residents expressing their dreams, it will be opened in three years when the Strengthening the Getsemaní Community Project ends.
After the ceremony, volunteers divided into groups and headed to the four work sites to dig and mix cement for the foundations. Two international teams hailed from Charlotte, North Carolina: one representing our project partner, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, and another representing our sister affiliate, Habitat for Humanity Charlotte. Dozens of national volunteers from the Presbyterian Church of Ahuachapán, International Elim Mission as well as the UCA (Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas”) also participated.
During a midday break, Pastor Bob Breed of MPPC and Pastor Andrés Rodriguez of the Presbyterian Church of Ahuachapán celebrated an Ash Wednesday service in the Getsemaní community park. They ended the service by placing a cross of ashes on the forehead of each participant. After a few more hours of hard work, however, the ashes had mixed with dirt, as faith was put into action.
—Habitat El Salvador team