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EL Salvador 9

Sat, 26 Jan 2008

Hello again from El Salvador - I keep thinking yet of things I forgot to say about La Loma....mostly the personal stories of the people and the war. The one that comes to mind is the 3 student activists that came to La Loma because they knew that it was a political `hot spot´. They offered themselves up to be killed if the military would spare the women and children of the village. The massacre happened anyway. But we were taken to the place where it all occurred and it was all quite surreal.

Well, today's discourse shouldn't be quite so long since we basically just visited one project. We left early this morning and visited the small community of El Coaba. It was not far from the beach we planned to go to for the afternoon.

This is a community of only 7 families. Their biggest issue is that they do not own the land that they are on. Rainbow of Hope has already helped them with a solar pump and holding tank for water but they are hoping to set up another tank up a hill and have a gravity feed as well as possibly solar power in every household. We had a `village meeting´in a shelter (a pole framed structure about the size of a single car garage, with a corrugated iron roof). The shelter was welcomed because the temperature felt like it was bordering on 40C. The members expressed their needs in terms of water pumps, solar panel power etc. It was left that they would have to have a study done to determine sizes of pumps needed , costs, how to more efficiently use the existing solar panels, the possibility of individual panels for each house etc. The government has agreed to let them live on the land but an NGO needs more proof on paper in order to do grant applications. And so the meeting went. We walked through the village and were shown the potential location of a new holding tank. School supplies that were brought for the children were presented to them and they were happy. The kids are always brought to these meetings dressed in their best clothes....and are always very well behaved. There were about 60-70 people in this not as many kids as in some of the places we have been. This area near the coast is a sugar cane growing area as well as banana plantations. The sugar cane is being harvested right now. Big trucks are hauling the cut cane stalks from the fields to the sugar cane factories.

And now the beach. This was a real treat ....after so many days of seeing it from a birds eye view up in the mountains. The beach has volcanic sand which is black, but very fine. It was a fun day of playing in the waves, knapping in the hammocks, eating and drinking the very reasonably prices food, watching the sunset, and then examining the blanket of stars you often see in the tropics. It was a very fun day and we are all pretty tuckered out. We didn't get back till well after 9pm! One nice thing is that there are very few hawkers here . In fact there were not many people at the beach at all. We had a restaurant that was a bit of a walk down to the beach but they catered to our every culinary need.....lots of seafood of course and those gigantic shrimp (crawdads?) that we had before. A pretty good day I would say.....

V & C