The CIS mission is to promote solidarity and cultural exchange across borders between the Salvadoran people and others in the search for development and dignity. We work to promote and strengthen a culture of solidarity that implies accompaniment, respect for equality of different cultures, and mutual support between people. We focus on using different strategies to promote a solidarity that creates the space for grassroots organizing for justice and dignity.
Let me open with a poem, since it is, after
all Poetry Mondays at the CIS. At the end of the poem “I know why the caged
bird sings” by Maya Angelou, it says…
“The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.”
Are we caged birds, caged by what? These
big questions and more occupy my mind here in El Salvador. Caged by society,
international oppression by Core countries like the U.S.(a little Dependency
Theory for ya), and our circumstances which I see firsthand here in the
communities that I visit with the CIS. I have amazingly, wonderful, eye-opening
opportunities to work closely with 2 communities “caged” in different ways,
Comunidad Romero and San Isidro. But with the support of the CIS (including
MEEEE!!) and the initiative of some kick-ass women we’re learning to grow
vegetables and indigo organically to combat some of these disadvantages that
exist here. Break down the cage, however you can!
What is the unknown, and why does it call
to us? El Salvador was certainly unknown to me, and I would be lying to say
that I wasn’t nervous coming to live here. My largest fear is not being liked,
fitting in, and being able to build a community of friends. Getting to know new
people and deeply sharing our perspectives is one of the beauties of life that
calls to me. I have found El Salvador to be the place that I was meant to be at
this time in my life; it is really, truly, a blessing to be here. Why? I guess
you have to come here to find out!
Ok, now I guess I’ll introduce myself. Hi!
I’m Elisabeth Miller, but everyone calls me Tibby. I volunteer at the CIS
through Brethren Volunteer Service, and will be here for 2 years. I am so so so
excited to see what this time will bring, and to be a part of such good work
going on in the world.