Looking for answers...


The story began with a mud slide in November 2009 which brought boulders and mud and a wall of water into the community of Guadalupe near San Vicente.

Sort of.

The story really began generations ago, when families settled on the fertile hillsides and valley below the volcano. Grandparents, parents, and children, who despite the history of landslides, are rooted in this piece of earth which sustains them with corn and beans. This is home.

The government is unwilling to invest in rebuilding homes or reconstructing the bridge which is the evacuation route for the families who still live here. From a risk-management perspective this makes some sense. Yet the plan for relocating families raises additional questions. Is the lowland relocation site, which is prone to flooding, just as risky? Will the families have access to land to grow their crops? Will they receive dignified housing?

Those who lost everything are currently living in temporary wooden homes, on a wet patch of land that the local government was able to borrow. These one room homes are tiny and the families share 2 kitchens, 4 latrines and 3 pilas for doing laundry. There is a big tank for drinking water and one for washing clothes and people. A young mother said that her biggest concern about living here is the children. "They don't have a place to play and their condition is very delicate. They are sick. We worry about them being sick."

In February, one stalk of corn grew inside of a half-buried bedroom. To the families in the community, this was a sign of resurrection. They are people of the corn, and as long as they can grow their food they have hope.

Should they move? Should they stay?

This is a question which people ponder throughout the world, from El Salvador to Haiti to Pakistan to the US. In the meantime, wooden shelters, tents and FEMA trailers are home to families who search for signs of resurrection and hope and governments and caring people search for just solutions.


  1. Always such a difficult dilemma.... Our prayers are with them.


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