Friday, April 15, 2011
Day Two sights and sounds of San Salvador
It's hard to believe it's only been twenty-four hours since our arrival. We have settled into the sights and sounds of San Salvador and are learning to drink enough water, have sampled local cuisine, and have continued to try to make friends with whomever will wave.
This morning we were given a brief history of the challenges of the poor against those with money and power. This provided perfect context for the work of Salvaides' partners, CRIDPES and CORDES. Rosilita and Bernardo, the representatives from these organizations, explained how their work helps provide support for rural communities to fight against mining and sweatshops. Riveted by these testimonies and inspired by the grassroots work of these groups, the students learned more about their roles for solidarity.
Stuffed with a delicious meal, our gang proceeded to the Single-mothers cooperative. These women are paid a fair wage for the textiles they produce. They are also provided with groceries, 3 month maternity leaves and other benefits which allows their product to be branded fair trade. Our fundraiser shirts (pictured) were made here.
The bus drove us into a large park. Many Salvadorians enjoyed the benches, play structures and the shade provided by the huge mango trees. At the back, a huge monument looms.
The wall memorializes the civilians murdered and disappeared during the civil war and it's lead up. Almost 27000 names are marked on the black marble; memories of lives lived. This cold stone is a poor metaphor to the warmth once shared between the loved and lovers. Toward the end of the monument, up to and including 1995, a section of the wall highlights the mass graves uncovered by International archeologists. In 2008, an additional 9 panels were added to include an additional 4000 names; names shared by family members only now comfortable enough to share them.
This wall was erected, not by the government, but by a coalition of NGOs and human rights groups who sought to represent the lives lost to injustice.