Nueva Esperanza, San Ramon and Suchitoto

Trip Start Jan 22, 2007
Trip End Jun 02, 2007

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Flag of El Salvador  ,
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My time in El Salvador has gone by really fast- we leave for Nicaragua on Sunday! These past couple weeks weŽve been having two days of class, rural stays on the weekends and two free days.  The first weekend I was here I went on a  rural stay in a community in San Salvador, the capital.  It was a base Christian community who formed during the war. I had the opportunity to stay with a host family who was really nice, and really interested in having me experience their culture.  This community has been one of my favorite rural stays aside from Cantel, mainly because I was by myself so I got to choose what I did.  I got to speak with many members of the community who were vary open and wanted to share their stories. We talked about everything from CAFTA to liberation theology.  I was surprised how informed and passionate the children were there.  One girl about nine years old talked to me about immigration for an hour. El Salvador has 500 people leave a day for the United States, and a quarter of the population is currently in other countries.  If the FMLN doesnt win the upcoming elections they predict it will double to 1000 people leaving a day for the U.S.  Its a complicated issue, but by living in some of these conditions with these families I can see why people want to go to the U.S. Anyways, many people I spoke with also had alot to say about the war, because El Salvador has troops in Iraq.  Its also the only Latin American country with troops in Iraq, and many people here are angry because this poor country is spendng money on the war when it could be spent on education and healthcare. Anyways, thats just an example of US influence here.  While at San Ramon I also went to a memorial service for those who died in the month of March.  It was a nice celebration, we sang songs and celebrated the life of Oscar Romero and Rutillio Grande.  I also got to make soy milk and soy bread at a womenŽs cooperative. 
The weekend after that we went to Nueva Esperanza, where we got to tour their coconut, walnut and sugar cane cooperative.  I also got to stay with a family there, which was really fun because the chickens literally slept in the same room as you.  There were so many animals that just roamed around, it was great. 
Last weekend we went to Suchitoto, a city similar to Antigua but less touristy.  It had beautiful colonial architecture and a beautiful lake.
On the free days we have been to a couple different beaches.  The beaches here are gorgeous and the waves are huge! Right now we are working on individual interviews.  I am focusing on the environment, El Salvador has alot of environmental problems.  They are the most deforested country aside from Haiti, and only 1.9% of the origonal seventy percent of forests still remain! Five more days and weŽll be in Nicaragua!!
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