Leslie Whitaker is a frequent Observer contributor. service. A black man announces the first hymn, a Spanish hymn whose name he mispronounces. Catalina dabs her eyes with a Kleenex. The sermon is given by a visiting priest from Spain with a heavy accent. An old black usher, when he passes the collection basket, holds it in front of the Salvadoran family for a second. They just look at it. Alma hiccups, walks back and forth in front of her chair, and points at a toddler that walks by. Lucas is the only family member to go forward and take communion. He is a tiny gray head among taller parishioners in their Sunday clothes. After mass, we are told, there will be a class in Spanish to discuss the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on nuclear arms. Then the priest directs: “Let us pause for a moment to reflect upon the many blessings God has given you in your lifetime.” Everyone is standing but Luis. At the end of the service people shake the hands of people around them and say, “Peace, Christ be with you.” Ernesto looks back toward me and reaches to shake my hand. “Paz.” Linda Hajek drives me to the airport. She is small, has curly, graying hair, wears designer /blue jeans. “I worked in CISPES \(Committee in Solidarity years,” she tells me. “It’s important that we have human beings up here talking casualties of our own money. ” . . There has been a great amount of support for the family from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area . . . from churches, individuals they send money, bring food, call and offer transportation and medical help. In the whole issue of Central America, one of the things that happens to people is they feel powerless. Here they have a concrete way of zeroing in on the issue. It energizes people.” ts -Guatemalan a Quiche In to ladina fnon-In *United States in N about government red” rnala. Both in their earl y ‘ 0k$\(0 , women have lived in exile’ City . f or the past year. For the hundreds of ntericans who heard them speak, names and faces were attached to the v..iecurring reports of hurnatt rights abuses in Guatemala that are,boxied in the lack pages of Attleri can heivspapers. I !net Victoria, Leonor, their transla fior their Austin contact, and another friend at Les Arms, a restaurant near the University of TeXaS. Victoria, .dressed in’a traditional Indian skirt, ar7d dressed in fectrzs -though ;hungry and between speaking engage Ments –were willing to repeat stories ,they had already told many tunes in the last month. The .following testimony is taken from their responses to my questions the responses translated by Alg i ;s;; KO:A. people have been make every effort to represen we can, the whole picture, VICTORIA ALVARE I’d like to point out that -, Indian. My father is a c mother a homemaker. They ing to help people, especi people, in the rural area4 was working mainly with very difficult for her to do’ because so many people use it. Both she and the wo working with began under problems more in de along. And becauSe :. speak up and go outside the 8 were not spending all their wa;t o q doing housework. rr*y40:401k: ize with other women and share ideas. [The wealthier people in town] accused my mother of being the lover of the priest she was working with. These. is is the reality that my fat.he mother were witnessing. would try to work for the good of the people, to help them overcome some o their immediate problems. But, whet THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21
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