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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Porque eso quiero volver a Bajo Lempa

Español: Departamentos de El Salvador
Español: Departamentos de El Salvador (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The best way to describe the work of CORDES is to talk about Rio Lempe.  CORDES is very active in this former insurgent enclave.  This was the site of our first visit into the country.  We visited a small community that is located on the site of a former cotton plantation.  The previous owners deserted the area during the war.  The present community located on the plantation after the Peace Accords in 1992. 

This was the story wherever we went.  Relocated communities are trying to make a go of it with little government support.  Most of these communities have very dramatic stories of the conflict.  This on was no exception.

We visited a small community museum where captured arms are stored in a room with bullet-pocked walls.  The local commander gave us a tour of the facility.  His picture, from earlier days, with military uniform and black beret, were part of the display.  We also visited the site where 28 insurgents are buried after a battle with the military in the community.

This is a country of graves.



One of the captured guns from the community museum.  Note the holes in the walls.

The past and the future are so close here.  We were on our way to see a community that is growing and developing, but we had to pay homage to the past first.  You can’t understand El Salvador without listening to the stories of the struggle.  In Rio Lempe, I would like to think that the people are beginning to turn the corner on this long battle.

Funding has provided support for the development of local products including gourmet cheese, organic fruits, cashews and sugar.  Community supports include an eye clinic, a water purification plant that provides good drinking water to the community, biological pesticide control and a biogenerator that provides methane gas for cooking. 

The community has also developed a fishing co-op that seeks to return a greater share of the profits to local fishermen.  Training has also been provided on filleting and salting processes.  CORDES has also supported the development of an eco-tourism facility -  Hostal Lempa Mar.

Hostal Lempa Mar consists of four cabins that can sleep three persons each.  The hostal is located on the Lempa River and offers and excellent restaurant where visitors can enjoy local produce including red snapper taken from the Lempa.  Apart from the peace and serenity of the Lempa, this facility also offers kayaking and boat rides on the Lempa.  During the week, these same boats are used by the fishing co-op.

Profits from the Hostal stay in the community and all employees of the Hostal are members of the local community.  Plans are in place to develop hiking trails in the area and it is hoped that Hostal Lempa Mar will soon be able to promote to the international community through the Internet.




Hostal Lempa Mar.  Great fish and an afternoon ride on the Lempa

my Spanish for this week on Bajo Lempa

Porque eso quiero volver a Bajo Lempa
Yo he escrito de Bajo Lempa antes. Yo tengo un diario para cada viaje de El Salvador y Guatemala.    En 2005 y 2009, yo fui a Bajo Lema con los grupos Canadienses.  Yo no conozco la comunidad de Bajo Lempa y San Vicente como yo conozco la comunidad de San José las Flores.  Esto es porque este es el grupo CRIPDES quien decide a dónde íbamos.  Durante la guerra, San Vicente y Chalatenango fueron lugares que fueron controlados por los grupos militares afiliados a CRIPDES.  Yo no sé el nombre de los grupos, pero los afiliados existen hoy en El Salvador.
Las comunidades de Bajo Lempa no están bien organizadas como las comunidades en Chalatenango.  Cuando visitábamos las escuelas en esta área, los maestros no tenían los recursos necesarios para realizar su trabajo.  Yo espero que cuando visitemos este año,  haya cierta mejora. 
Bajo lempa es un área amenazada por el calentamiento global.  El océano pacifico está creciendo e inundando la tierra.  Cuando hay una tormenta, la tierra y la gente se ven afectados.  Cada vez, hay mucho daño.
Cuando yo regrese a Bajo Lempa, quiero ver que las cosas han cambiado.  Como están las escuelas?  Como están los proyectos de CRIPDES, CORDES y las otras organizaciones? 
También, fue un pequeño hostal, se llama Hostal Lempa Mar.  Este hay un gran

 
hostal.  La   comida en el hostal fue maravilloso.  La cocinera era un excombatiente que aprendía como a cocinar en San Diego mientras él se recuperaba de sus heridas.  


Nuestra cena en hostal Lempa Mar


Creo que hay muchas oportunidades para aprender en Bajo Lempa.  Yo voy a ver pronto lo que ha cambiado.  Ojalá, yo espero que las personas no cambien.




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