FLASH

Memories

Bob van Dusen (2009)
Driving two ambulances to El Salvador was a consciousness raising experience for me. Our visit to the shantytown, La Victoria, near San Salvador revealed a world of poverty unlike any I had seen before.

Archbishop Romero’s tomb and the chapel where he was murdered brought home, in one person, the suffering that the people of El Salvador experienced in their civil war.

Two ambulances didn’t seem like much, but the gratitude of those receiving them told me that, for them, it was a big deal. There were two parties that benefited from the Caravan of Hope: the people of El Salvador, and what I got out of it. Both seem to me to be of equal value.

 

Wendy L. Robson (2005)
“It’s A Long and Winding Road!!
Literally, the Caravan of Hope buses do travel a long and winding road to reach the targeted designations throughout the Central Americas. Metaphorically, it is a long and winding inter-connective reflective journey along that road. The opportunity to perceptually evolve throughout the experiences and realities, further open questions and understandings on the processes that contribute to the beat and beaten down pulse of humanity.

During the summer of 2005, I was fortunate to be one of the Caravan’s bus drivers. Physically, it was similar to being on what one would expect from being on an expedition. There were no guarantees of weather, accustomed comforts of food, shelter, sleep and that sense of immediacy that loves to plague the North American mindset. However, there was an unwritten guarantee of the unknown. The subtlest, innocuous moments were the ones that we all unwittingly grew and benefited from. From witnessing the tremendous changing beauty of land and sky resonating in the uniqueness of cultural differences, to the raw embrace of baseline fundamentals that make the human condition an ongoing challenge...we grew.

I have a range of eclectic memories garnered from the whole experience. These include the incredibly diverse, compassionate, empathetic, generous group of talented individuals that made Caravan of Hope 2005 successful. There were those who stayed in Toronto; those who traveled the route and those who greeted and took great care of us and let us take care of them along the way. Despite the time that has lapsed and the return to daily routine, the quality of ongoing friendship and the memory and passion of strength and determination in the faces of Latino America will be a part of me forever. With humble gratitude and evolving cognizance towards the greater good and need for social justice, I want to encourage YOU to become a participant in The Caravan of Hope.”

Bobby Nand (2005)
“The excitement of going to Central America was awesome. The planning, raising funds, items and liaison with acquaintances developed fervor of enthusiasm – to help those less fortunate. The picture was romantic and awed with a sense of adventure.

The initial draw-back was the break down of the first bus even before leaving Canada. The waiting never seemed to end. But one on the road, things seemed to pick up. The drive through the US was tiring. Perhaps the drawback was not getting enough sleep and stopping on time. It was upsetting to know that we had to stay in Texas for 72 hours. But we tried to make the most of it. Waiting for clearance in Mexico was even worse….the day was extremely hot and the world seemed to have halted.

The journey through Mexico was thrilling and fantastic. The fresh fruit, people, the landscape, especially the drive through the Chiapas and the Valley of the wind was surreal. Our entry into Guatemala was once again tiresome as we had to wait at the border to get clearance. We had to spend two whole days waiting before we got the buses. The team split up in Guatemala. Driving into Guatemala, seeing hot lava pour out of one of the volcanoes, viewing the majestic mountains simply awed me. We were extremely fortunate to meet our hosts who took great care of us while there. We distributed our supplies to the organization, managed to visit a mountainous city above the clouds visit two schools in rural Guatemala, visit the stove projects and an excursion to the world cultural heritage site of the ancient Mayan pyramids of Tikaal.

Bringing hope to the less fortunate was indeed a terrific experience. I was sure glad when I arrived back in Toronto and to my home and bed. As a group we reflected on how we could make changes to the trip, what worked and what did not work for us. Some of us hope to go back in 2007 to bring closure to our project and make additional donations to the organization and to help build a school.

It is impressive that Father Hernan has mobilized a community to help the less fortunate in Central America. The things we take for granted takes on a different meaning to the less fortunate. It is a life changing, exciting experience on the human condition. The Caravan of Hope ought to continue what it is doing in terms of supporting the cause.”

Roberto Arturo Cornejo (2003, 2004, 2005)
“Being part of the Caravan of Hope for 3 consecutive years, has been the greatest experience of my life. I have learned the importance of communication and team work. This adventure, which I have loved each and every time, is a very emotional one for me. The Caravan symbolizes hope, faith, unity, joy, sadness, excitement, and change!

Even though I was part of the bus named “The Turtle” in 2003 , (by Vilma and Sheila) because it was the slowest bus, we had more mechanical problems than any other bus and we got lost 2 or 3 times, I renamed the bus “The Miracle” bus, because we made it safely and I thank God for it.

I have dedicated my participation in the Caravan of Hope in memory of my beloved and blessed mother Elvira Cornejo, who passed away in March, 2003. I know she was with me all the way each time!!"