Peace in La Paz
During the week I recently spent in El Salvador, the only time I felt truly clean was the day we went to the beach at La Paz (Spanish for peace). The poverty and violence of the city ebbed away as we watched a small fishing boat come ashore at sunset with its day’s catch. These men were very happy. This is the El Salvador the tourists see.
Lucillia, a friend of the family I was visiting, has a face of exquisite depth. She exudes an air of tranquility that made her as fascinating to us as we were to her. As she sat at her fly-infested table by the road side giving away green oranges, I asked why she would take no money for the fruit she had in her basket and was informed that Lucillia was actually quite wealthy in an area that is dangerous to show signs of affluence which could mean your death. In recent weeks violent extortion led to at least 16 passengers and a couple of bus drivers being shot or burnt to death within walking distance of the table where Lucillia sits watching the world.
Artisans of Apaneca
Typical of life everywhere, out of great hardship great beauty can emerge in El Salvador. In the little town of Apaneca every building is a work of art as are the beautifully crafted furniture and fabrics for sale. This sleepy little is town is located in an area with a horrific history of violent massacres. In spite of the violence and oppression Apaneca has grown and blossomed living in the shadows of still active volcanoes.
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