viernes, 13 de agosto de 2010

I think I'm in love...

Wandering around the town of Santa Ana, El Salvador, I happened upon this beauty covered in vines and ferns, just walls at this point, standing there in the very center of town. 

This was once the Town Hall of Santa Ana, but after repeated damage from both civil war and extreme weather, repair work on the building ceased altogether. Today it is still used as a school for Santa Ana orphans. 

                                                                    the view through the keyhole...

Visiting El Salvador was an incredible experience; it's people have endured tremendous suffering for so long, and I saw this structure as an interesting reflection of the current state of affairs nationally. 

The economy is still crippled from the war, and the currency switch, the poorest bearing the brunt of it all. 

It was described to me by a Salvadoran friend, that many people "will turn to the quickest ways to get money out of desperation" meaning the drug trade and gangs. 
The crime and violence resulting from such activity is certainly what makes it into newspapers, but I witnessed many people remaining in their country by choice, with the purpose of doing something good for El Salvador. 

There is a visible push happening for social change on many fronts; on every main road I saw billboards advocating for children to continue their education instead of working or entering gangs; to protect the environment by not eating turtles eggs ("come los huevos de tortuga es como el futuro") and many other social and environmental issues being addressed.

The ad-campaign that struck me the most, was an image of a tough-looking Salvadoran man, opening his shirt superman style, with the words "absolutamente nadie va a intimidar a El Salvador" emblazoned on the shirt beneath.

Under the weight of such horror and devastation from decades of civil war, massacre and abject poverty that sits on the shoulders of the Salvadoran people, I witnessed a quiet dignity, a strength and an enduring life-force that I found courageous and awe-inspiring.

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