On Valentine’s Day I am reflecting on the meaning of love. For many, love means giving other people jewelry , a fancy dinner, a reflection of love to that one person you love most in the world. I do yearn for this sometimes, but I reflect on love in the broader sense, in ways we ourselves do not necessarily follow. I reflect on the need to love humanity and want to make it a better. place.
Yesterday I walked into the community of La Cruz in El Salvador. It’s a unique community, in the middle of the city is a community that started out as war refugees in the early eighties. A series of families were given asylum in a plot of land and they set up camp. Four generations later they still remain, a community of 150 people in a series of shacks the size of one large living room. There are no personal toilets but a shared toilet for 150 people. The shacks are made of metal and cardboard. The floors are dirt roads and a dirty soapy water flows through it. You can smell detergent , and roosters and ducks peck through the ground. It’s an odd thing, a shanty town in the middle of a bustling city. Women have children young- as young as 15 years old- as they walk through the town barefoot carrying large tubs of Corn precariously balanced on their head.
In the middle of the slums live a couple youth. Two boys, brothers dreamed of bettering their community. One of them already has a scholarship to one of the most prestigious universities. On their own intitiative, they set out to do literacy classes for those who were not educated. They set up a recycling program, and gathered all the youth together tp try and make a positive difference in their communities.
The community is not without problems : Teenage pregnancy, gangs, illiteracy yet here is a boy who had virtually nothing , who could be angry but chose to love and embrace serving others. Here is . a series of teenagers and young university students who have an idealism, a love for others despite having every reason to hate or to be bitter.
They humble me by their idealism, and I want to be like them when I grow up.