Invitation to Mission in Chile: Reflection No. 1

17th August 2017 - by Nathalie Marytsch

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A small group from this country is spending a few days in Chile on a learning experience. Here John Waddoups shares some reflections of the group’s journey.

I woke after a good night’s sleep with the words ‘I will trust you Jesus with whatever happens today’ words I found very comforting as I realised God is with us no matter what happens.

We all had breakfast and set off at 10.30 by bus to catch the Metro from Macul to Vincente Valdes. We all felt upbeat about the day and that the lost suitcases had been traced. We then toured the city with Cesar Correa, the Columban Justice and Peace coordinator in Chile, who pointed out the main historical points of Santiago City including the wealthy and poorer areas.

We had coffee at Cafe Torres a cafe in the past used by politicians who were not aristocracy. We visited a barrio which had a house used to torture people under Pinochet regime. Then, we visited an amazing fish market and had a beautiful fish lunch at Mercardo Central restaurant. The lunch began with Pisco Sour a local drink which Gerry, another participant of this experience, managed to spill on my trousers!  He repaid me by buying me a local beer!!

In the afternoon we visited the Museo de la Memoria and Human Rights for a guided tour about the details of the coup led by General Pinochet and the torture and murder carried out by his regime. The false press reports put out by the regime deceived many and it was an enlightening and emotional tour for all of us.

The pleasant morning with a lovely coffee and meal was a stark contrast to the torture and murder in the afternoon. This somehow reminded us of how Chile is a land of contrast: rich and poor, calm and earthquake, democracy and dictatorship. Then life can often be like this; peaceful then calamity. It reminded me of my earlier words ‘I will trust you Jesus with whatever happens today’.