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Thursday, July 3, 2014

First Day in San Salvador - CRIPDES, CORDES, Volcanoes

Looking down into the mouth of the Boqueroncito cinder cone
Our first day in San Salvador is done and I am writing while the rain comes pounding down around us. This has been a great first day.  We have been introduced to the work of CRIPDES and CORDES and we visited the mighty Boqueron Volcano.

The volcano was really impressive.  You can't miss it when you are in San Salvador, it dominates the landscape and the city creeps up the western bank of the volcano.  It last erupted in 1917 but the structure surrounding the volcano goes back at least 40,000 years.  We didn't actually go down into the cinder cone - that is at least a 1.5 hour hike down and another 3 hours back up.  We were happy to watch other hikers at the bottom of the cone.  The flowers here were beautiful and the climate cool, a really nice beak from the heat, noise and bustle of the city.

We nestled this visit between meetings with CRIPDES and CORDES, sister organizations involved in social, political and economic development in over half of the departments of El Salvador.  This is where our trips always start, with the work of these two great organizations.  They have both been so important to the reconstruction of this country.  At one point, before the FMLN came to power they were the only agency that provided the necessary support for communities to rebuild during and after the war.

This is the beginning of the narrative of this trip.  Tomorrow it continues with a visit to Equipo Maiz, an organization that specializes in popular education and then on to visit the sites connected with Archbishop Oscar Romero.  This second day of our orientation will set the context for everything else we do on this trip.  Tomorrow will be another full day, it will be very emotional for the group members as they learn more about the struggle that flamed into civil war with the death of Oscar Romero.

It will be a great day!

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