El Salvador Encounter
About the program
El Salvador Encounter is a faith-based delegation experience where participants learn from the Salvadoran people about their lives, histories, and hopes for the future. A major focus of the encounter is to reflect on the meaning of working for justice rather than working for charity, understanding one’s role as a global citizen and humanizing the different issues that are present in our societies.
Encounters are 7 to 10 days long and offer the opportunity to explore a different reality while focusing on a theme chosen by the group. Participants learn directly from the Salvadorans about issues such as the impact of war, neo-liberal economics, U.S. foreign policy, migration, mining, the environment and a tradition of liberating faith.
CRISPAZ allowed students of the University of Scranton to listen and learn with the people of El Salvador. Together we were able to live in solidarity and grow our perspectives on faith, service and international relations.
CRISPAZ values the idea of accompaniment in everything they do. I not only visited a new and different country and was able to experience a beautiful culture, but they also allowed me to work and learn alongside the people of El Salvador. The lessons you learn and the stories you hear while on an Encounter with CRISPAZ are useful in my daily life when trying to be a global citizen and a good Christian.
CRISPAZ opened my eyes to the realities of others. My immersion reminded me that there is still a great deal of work to be done but through awareness and love, a great deal can be accomplished. CRISPAZ truly opened my eyes to the world.
CRISPAZ is a wonderful organization that made my experience in El Salvador very special and powerful. All of our activities helped me to understand some aspects of life in El Salvador and they helped shape my worldview today. My time in El Salvador helped make me the person I am and want to become.
CRISPAZ works towards ensuring all participants have diverse and impactful experiences during their visits. They are very intentional in their organization in designing and tailoring your itinerary to meet the experiences you want to gain through activities, site visits, and conversations with a diverse group of speakers.
Your Encounters & theme
Every Encounter organizer and participant wants to know what they will be seeing and doing while in El Salvador. This section is designed to help you understand how CRISPAZ sets up your itinerary and to give you the information you need to fill out the interest sheets and communicate to our staff your wishes and interests for the trip.
All CRISPAZ El Salvador Encounters include visits to martyr sites, grassroots organizations, a rural community, as well as speakers on history, politics, economics, and more importantly current issues as well as a time for shopping for fair trade crafts and cultural activities. Unless you tell us otherwise, we will incorporate these activities into your schedule with your input on special interests and requests. This will form the core of your itinerary. If your group or individuals in the group have requests for speakers or have a particular interest in one of the areas of your core itinerary, please let us know and we will happily do what we can to schedule with those interests in mind.
We give special emphasis in all of our Encounters to the voice and experience of the poor and marginalized of El Salvador. Taking our inspiration from Monsignor Romero, we want to give voice to the voiceless. We encourage you to address with your group your level of interest in meeting with people who also represent more powerful groups and other sectors of society. It is our desire to provide for your group the opportunity to learn from various political, social, economic and religious sectors according to the interests of the participants. But, because your time in El Salvador is limited it isn’t possible to hear a variety of perspectives or see a variety of approaches to every topic you learn about. Your interest surveys will help us understand your priorities.
In order to understand the priorities of the group, we ask you to choose a theme on which to focus your Encounter. This will allow you to deepen your understanding of a particular area of interest and see more than one group or organization who is addressing the issue. Some of the basic itinerary activities can be planned in such a way as to tie into your theme as well if you want to further deepen your understanding of a topic.
HUMAN ELEMENTS OF EL SALVADOR / MEXICO / USA MIGRATION
Participants will explore the intimate human elements of the El Salvador / Mexico/ USA migration situation.
The objective is to raise awareness and understanding of migration issues that affect Central and North America as to ignite involvement.
CURRENT STRUGGLES, FUTURE HOPES
Participants would have the opportunity to interact with Salvadoran youth in several settings which may include youth centers, programs or cooperatives, parish youth groups, and public schools. The group would also have the chance to interact with youth living in at-risk communities, homes for street children, women’s organizations, environmental projects, human rights groups, and universities.
Economics for the People
UNDERSTANDING GLOBAL ECONOMIC REALITY IN EL SALVADOR
Participants would meet with economic and political analysts, members of the business community, union workers and labor rights activists, artisan cooperatives, women’s organizations, consumer rights groups and sectors of society engaged in creating alternatives to free trade.
Memory of the Martyrs
RELIGION IN EL SALVADOR
While all Encounters are designed to build solidarity with the marginalized of El Salvador, this theme focuses on a deeper understanding of the churches and communities that have adopted the preferential option for the poor and the inspiration of the martyrs.
If not, the basic itinerary activities listed above will be your general overview and your theme will allow you to deepen understanding on that topic. As the organizer, you can either set the Encounter theme, looking for participants who are interested in that topic or, once you have a group together, reach consensus on the interests of the group and focus theme. Either way, we ask that you communicate to CRISPAZ what you would like the theme to be at the same time that you send in your deposit to reserve your dates. CRISPAZ will send you a reservation form in the initial inquiry packet. Please send this form with your deposit payment.
Frequently Asked QUESTIONS
The El Salvador Encounter (ESE) is an in-depth learning experience for English speakers visiting El Salvador. It is a faith-based experience that offers participants from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to explore a different reality and to build relations with the people of El Salvador.
Usually between 7 to 10 days.
CRISPAZ has a minimum requirement of 7 participants and larger than 20 will work with extra planning.
Our group is interested in focusing on a different theme than is listed in the literature, can we still participate in El Salvador Encounter?
Yes, our Encounter staff is willing to work with groups on developing their own themes.
We take the safety of your group very seriously. Please review our security and safety letter here to learn more.
CRISPAZ is an ecumenical organization that works with groups from all different faith backgrounds. While your Encounter may not be religiously focused, you will be meeting with Salvadorans who draw from their spirituality or faith in their work and everyday life. Your group will be asked to participate in reflections on how the Encounter affects all aspects of their lives including faith and spirituality.
CRISPAZ price is calculated per night and includes all in-country transportation, accommodations, food, speaker fees, CRISPAZ group leader/interpreter, and community visit support.
Groups from: (based on 8 days/7 nights)
8-12 participants: $ 973.00 (7nights)
- 8 nights 9 days…(each additional night gets a 10% discount on the additional day) =
$1098.00 per person.
- 9 nights = $1,223.00.
- 10 nights =$1,348.00.
- 11 nights = $1, 474.00.
- 12 nights = $1,598.00.
- 13-20: $ 945 for 7 nights with $ 945 for seven nights, with a 10% discount on each additional day. i.e $1,066 for 8 nights, 9 nights $1,200, or $1,321.50 for 10 nights.
- 21 – 40 $ 908.00 for seven nights = with a 10% discount on each additional night, i.e., eight nights $1024.00
US/MX border portions of Crossing Borders for Justice: $142 per night. El Salvador pricing is approx. $139 per night, depending on group size and total days in country.
The price does not include a $12 tourist card upon arrival at the El Salvador airport.
Program fees include pre-Encounter planning materials including a participant’s manual for each participant; itinerary and logistics set up; interpretation/translation, ground transportation, food, and housing in El Salvador. Each group is responsible for finding and purchasing their plane tickets.
Yes, a deposit of $1,500 per group is due no later than 6 months before the Encounter begins. Your deposit will confirm the date you have worked out with CRISPAZ.
Yes! With 12 or more participants in your group and if you stay more than eight nights.
Certainly, our staff are happy to work with you in scheduling and planning for reflections and religious services.
Our university / community / church group wants to form a relationship with a Salvadoran community, can CRISPAZ set that up?
As such, CRISPAZ does not have a fully developed sister community or twinning program, but we may be able to work with you to facilitate a relationship. Let us know if you are interested in such a relationship and we can help you discern the possibilities.
Our university / community / church group already has a relationship with a Salvadoran community, can CRISPAZ set up our trip for us?
Our staff can usually work with your group to set up a visit to your community and plan at least 2 to 3 days of country orientation in addition to the community visit. However, we still ask groups to choose a theme to examine during the Encounter.
El Salvador Encounter staff encourages participant input in the itinerary planning process and can work with groups to choose the speakers and activities that best suit the interests of the group.
An El Salvador Encounter does not usually involve a work project; rather, it focuses on learning and exploring ways in which The global north can be in solidarity with Salvadorans from their home countries. Sometimes the best thing your group can do to contribute is to listen and share what you have learned!
Please fill out the following form for your upcoming visit. Every person is required to fill out an individual application and waiver.
Step 1: Download the Assumption of Risk and Agreement form that corresponds to your age group
Step 2: Print and Sign the Waiver
Step 3: Scan the waiver
Step 4: Enter your password to begin filling out the application form (the application form is password protected, please contact your group’s organizer for the password)
Start planning you delegation visit to El Salvador right here.