As I sit down to write I can imagine the questions my family and friends have for me. In the almost week since I arrived in El Salvador I have been asking myself what I will say, what I will write home about?
It is hillier than I expected. San Salvador has winding streets that twist tightly with cars parked on both sides. The air smells like wood smoke and exhaust. Trash bags, sunglasses, and toothpaste are sold by vendors who stand on the yellow dividing line in the middle of the street. Most of the houses and neighborhoods are gated. It is hot and dry but there are still flowers everywhere.
Cinquera, the Salvadoran community where we will be volunteering and learning a, is about two hours by car from San Salvador. Situated in the the midst of steep semi forested hills, Cinquera was almost completely level by the civil war. When the people began to come back only one wall of the Church remained. It is amazing to walk through this community and imagine that about two decades ago none of this was here.
Yesterday we went down to the river in the heat of the afternoon. Our feet pooled in dust and dead leaves as we approached. Clear and shallow, the water felt like cool silk sliding across our skin as we waded and splashed. As we sat in the dappled shade a farmer started up a gas pump to take water to his crops, the motor buzzing louder than insects. He gave us green mangoes that we peeled with a machete and ate with salt.