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EL Salvador 5

Tue, 22 Jan 2008

Hi Everybody- Well, one guy is covered with bed bug bites and two others have amoebic dysentery, so I am feeling pretty lucky! My stomach problem seems to be slowly going away.

The predicted temperature for today was +35C. Believe it or not it CAN be too hot! There seems to be plenty of places with air conditioning it the city. So it's a matter of taking advantage of it, staying in the shade when you can, and drinking more than you like! It may not be quite so easy when we get out of the city more .....Starting tomorrow.

Finances are easier to manage here in E.S. than in Guatemala.....since the don't have their own currency but use American dollars.Guatemala uses Quetzales for it's currency at about 7.5 Q's to 1US$.In fact the whole city of San Salvador seems to be quite Americanized....KFC, Wendy's, Burger King.....

We had an interesting day, first visiting the home of Archbishop Oscar Romero and then the church where he was shot by the military sniper in 1980. (Film 'Romero'1989) His home was just a small 3 room block structured building near the church. It has some memorabilia in it that is interesting to see. We spent quite a long time in the one else seemed to be around. We will go the mass service there next Sunday. That will be awesome.

In the afternoon, we went to visit the offices of an organization (CIS) the Center for the Exchange and Solidarity the Rainbow of Hope works with. They do grassroots projects eg. organic coffee plantations, building schools etc. It is headed up by a woman named Leslie from Cleveland Ohio who has been working here for the last 14 years and seemed straight out of the 60's......protesting the US support of the military government here. It was interesting though hearing about the history of the war and the political situation in the country. This is the 'public engagement' component of a trip like this which Uncle Al was very big on.

After all this 'head work' Charlie and I went to the mall, which is close by, on a quest for yogurt (trying to fortify our systems). We of course had a good look around. It is apparently the biggest mall in central America and had the personality of most malls I have been to....characterless and quite boring! The prices seemed to be at least as high as at home and in many cases much higher eg. technical stuff. We were told that the average wage per day here is $7-9 US so you have to wonder who is buying this stuff! Obviously there are great disparities here which we are yet to see. Over half the population here is below the age of 23 because of people leaving the country or being killed in the war. So, the grassroots organizations are focusing on education as a way of changing things.

Well, I think I will leave it at this for now and remember....IT CAN BE TOO HOT!!!!

V & C