“We’re here for the people”
Be sure to click on the powerful video at the end
Periodically when I get weary, my partner reminds me of our purpose in visiting El Salvador. Yes, I admit I do need the occasional reminder.
The first time I hear his words is several weeks into a visit. We have already visited our sister community, already seen our scholarship girls. We have conducted countless lengthy interviews, some back-to-back.
This is the first day we have a hole in our afternoon schedule. Our coordinator suggests we fill it by visiting two worthwhile museums in the same general neighborhood. This is a total change from anything we have previously done in San Salvador.
Now approaching lunchtime, I spot a high-rise Hilton between the two museums and offer to treat for lunch. Up to this point we have eaten simple meals in the company of groups and/or friends.
There was a long pregnant pause to my offer. I wait for an answer. Maybe he doesn’t hear me, so I ask again. Then he responds with a lame excuse, “I don’t want you spending your money on an expensive meal.” That doesn’t deter me, so I ask a third time. “It’s here; we are going there, it makes practical sense, doesn’t it?”
That’s when the REAL answer comes. “Caroline, when we are in El Salvador, we’re here for the people. I prefer to accompany the poor and live simply. We are here to serve the people.” The words are not spoken harshly or scoldingly. He makes a valid point.
On a subsequent visit a middle-aged couple share highlights of their travels around the country. Their trip is mostly a vacation. They mention driving through tunnels leading to nice shopping areas and restaurants with scenic lookouts. They claim El Salvador’s waterfalls outrank the acclaimed ones in Puerto Rico. Stumbling across some geothermal hot springs is another favorite spot.
After they walk away, I turn to my partner and smile, “I know; we’re here for the people; we’re here for the people” and he chimes in on the third “we’re here for the people.”
Some weeks later an individual approaches me with a question. He knows I’ve visited El Salvador many times and wants information on some of the nicer places to be sure to see. “I’m really sorry,” I tell him, “but I’m not the right person to ask that question. “You see when we come to this country, it is not to vacation and see the sites. We are here for the people.”
I guess it has finally sunk in. We travel to El Salvador to hear their voices and share their stories with the world.
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For our readers who have met the people of El Salvador and for those who have yet to visit, we have developed this short video to tell the Salvadorian Story in Pictures and in Music.
Click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXzOQ9mDudo&