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El Salvador Election Team -- new member Cathy Lester

Hi, my name is Cathy Lester and I'm going to be part of the MPT team going to El Salvador in the winter to help SHARE Foundation in election monitoring and possibly (if the goons show up) do some third-party non-violent intervention.

I'm from Grayling, up in the Northern half of the Lower Peninsula, but I've lived most of my life overseas, where I taught English as a Foreign Language and then lived in the UK with my British ex-husband. I learned Spanish in Colombia -- am fairly fluent but a bit chagrined that I can understand Colombians with the greatest of ease but when I listen to SalvadoreƱos on YouTube I have trouble following them!

I apologize for not getting on this earlier, but I've been involved in trying to a) have Christmas, b) get my Christmas letters sent, c) finish some blogs for the Traverse city Record-Eagle blogsite, from my China trip in the fall, d) do a lot of ski patrolling at the local ski park over the holidays, and e) organize some MPT fundraisers.

The first fundraiser was at home, a cookie-decorating party (Christmas cut-out cookies, lots of frosting and sugar sprinkles). It was fun and actually garnered a bit of dough.

The second one was this last Sunday -- the local theater, The Rialto, in Grayling offered to put on an event and we got a documentary called "The Tiniest Place." It's about a village in the Salvadorean mountains that was literally annihilated during the Civil War, and how the people gradually came back and rebuilt. The narrative is told by the villagers themselves, who were very low-key, not trying to dramatize anything - but some of their experiences were so harrowing you don't wonder that a lot of them still suffer from anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, and so on. Still, it's a heartwarming film, and you see how the villagers have helped and supported each other. One guy looks sad throughout the entire film, but then at the end his cow successfully delivers a calf, and with the release of tension you see a big delighted smile, like that's the happy person he may have been before all the bloodshed.

Peter Dougherty came up to Grayling for the film. He spoke before the screening, and then afterwards we adjourned to a local church basement, where Fr. Peter was able to explain about non-violent intervention. We had smaller numbers than I'd hoped for but the ones who were there were interested and involved.

I'm hoping for a much bigger crowd for the third fund-raiser, a Spaghetti Dinner to be held at Hanson Hills, where they know me because that's where I'm on the ski patrol.

I am looking forward greatly to being a part of the MPT team!

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