Items Salvadorian Trucks Carry


Trucks overloaded with scrap metal, bouncy balls, gigantic baskets, mattresses, people, even mattresses AND people in the same load . . . .



Napping in the car between locations is not an option when traveling throughout El Salvador. It’s just too fascinating to watch the sights on the highways and rural roads. You don’t want to miss catching a glimpse of what surprise will come around the next turn. Just when you think you have seen it all, there goes a truck zipping by transporting even more unusual merchandise piled even higher!

Are there no restrictions as to weight or height for those enormous sugar cane trucks packed tight and so high you fear they won’t clear the bridges or overpasses? Does anyone else hold their breath driving behind the load of hundreds of precariously perched coconuts?

Ever present are the trucks carrying people – people standing, people sitting, people riding on top of sugar cane, children sleeping. For a nervous person it may be best to look the other way when those passengers hang off the back or stand on one foot atop the bumpers. Trucks are the main source of transportation for most local Salvadorans; they are the taxi or bus equivalent. You see a truck jam-packed full of people like sardines still stop to pick up more passengers. There is always room for one more. The ironic thing is that El Salvador DOES have a mandatory seatbelt law. Does that only apply to the driver? We saw a load of white-shirted/black pantsed evangelicals on their way to evangelize riding on the back of a truck. Even I got brave enough to ride the back of trucks a couple of times. When you want off, you tap on the window on the cab, and the driver will stop. It’s a pretty slick system. That is assuming you can get close enough TO the window, of course, in the mob of people; an alternate is hanging off the edge to give a hand signal.

By and large the roads appear to be in fairly good condition. Thankfully I see no potholes that would knock the passenger off the rear of the truck like we have in our country. Of course, there is not the freeze/thaw phenomenon to deal with in a tropical climate to create them. Still, how do their tires hold up under the constant strain of the enormous weight they carry?

I got a close-up look at what the cargo trucks carry one day. Riding in a truck – seated in the back seat – we were pulled over along with most other trucks by the uniformed men armed with very large assault weapons that scare the bejeepers out of me. I’ve been accused of being a victim waiting to happen, and my mind is wondering which crime I committed. The four of us sit in the sweltering heat waiting and waiting and waiting for our turn to find out why we are stopped. Turns out our truck windows are too dark for the required thickness of shading. Our friend driving us calmly accepts the ticket; he is unconcerned and simply glad it wasn’t a flat tire that stalled us. I’m grateful for other reasons. We are on our way again.

Holy cow! Did you see that load of shoes go by?

Enjoy just a few of the sights we saw on the backs of Salvadoran trucks.

What Salvadoran Trucks Carry:


    Afflicted with Hope / is one of many outreach ministries at
    Saint Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA)
    30 West Main Street, PO Box 266
    New Kingstown, PA 17072

    Tax deductible donations for support of this work in El Salvador may be sent to the above address.