Showing posts from January, 2018

Art in a Traffic Jam

Traffic in San Salvador is insane.  Too many people coming into the city.  Too many people going out from the city.  We are almost always late, no matter how much extra time we estimate we will need. There are many things you can do while sitting in traffic.  Putting on make-up:  yes, even in the back of a pick-up truck.  Purchasing bananas, quesadilla, or trash bags:  yes, if you know what corner features what items.  You can buy a paper.  Heck, you can read the paper.  You can also read the billboards:  there are many new, flashy, bright electronic billboards that scroll through a dozen advertisements from cheap flights to the US, to the best paint, to the political candidates of your choice.  You can usually get through the whole batch of ads two or three times before the traffic moves. And then there is art.  Many of San Salvador's traffic circles and plazas feature art installations:  statues, fountains, modern sculptures and beautiful plantings.  Murals are everywhere ! 

What's for Lunch? Yucca.

I walked into the reception area outside of the church administration offices, just to check in and see what everyone's plans were for the day.  The gal that does the cleaning was behind the desk, whacking away at some big pieces of yucca. "Is it the season for yucca?" I asked. "Yes," she said, as an accountant looked on.  The accountant was a little worried about the whacking and peeling, suggesting the technique being used was a dangerous.  Well, we all have our own knife techniques, right? The peeled yucca was placed into a wide aluminum pot.  It needed a good washing, and then it would go over the fire.  "Do you have garlic?" someone asked.  "Garlic and salt - I like my yucca with nothing more than garlic and salt." When produce is in season, the staff members in the church offices are eager to share the fruits from their trees or the vegetables from their little home gardens with their co-workers.  Yucca is meant to be shared.  I

The Peace Tree

On January 16, 1992, under the supervision of the United Nations, representatives of the Salvadoran government and the FMLN forces came together and signed the Peace Accords, ending the 12-year civil conflict.  On January 14, 2018, a small congregation gathered for worship on a day dedicated to remembering the peace-work of the past and calling for the young and the old to be "artisans of peace" in the present.  The congregation and the community long for peace.  Gang boundaries run through the community and orders restrict residents from walking to church, visiting neighbors, and getting together with family who live on "the other side."  In the 1980's, members of this community lived and fought in the mountains, raised their families in hiding, traveled to the city when food ran out, worked, were politically active, and lost their sense of home.  After the Peace Accords were signed, those with weapons laid them down.  Political action replaced the action o

Off the Beaten Path: Peace and Reconciliation Plaza

It might seem a little strange to describe a plaza  with a bright aqua 12-meter high statue located beside a major highway as "off the beaten path," but one year after its inauguration, the Monument to Peace and Reconciliation is still a bit of a hidden treasure for tourists and Salvadorans alike. Prior to its dedication, Salvadoran opinions on the monument were mixed, and even the artist who came up with the concept design was not exactly happy with the final installation.  During the construction phase, as the bright aqua face of a woman with hair flowing in an imagined breeze peered over the silver construction fence, everyone's curiosity certainly was piqued.  Her completed figure appears as if she is emerging from the ground, and she still sparks curiosity among those who have seen her from the highway shining bright turquoise blue under sun by day and beneath brightly colored lights by night. The monument is located at the exit from Boulevard Monseñor Romer

The Special Offer

Grocery shopping - one of the first activities one must accomplish upon arrival at one home or another.  We arrived in El Salvador last night.  This morning we went to the Super. Súper Selectos  is a chain grocery store in El Salvador.  Depending on the location, the products and the prices vary a bit, but it's pretty much a one-stop shop for staples, meat, produce, cleaning supplies, household goods, and even underwear.  Savvy shoppers will know which dairy store, which fruit market, which bakery might have things for cheaper prices, but for people without that kind of time or without the inside knowledge of where else to go, the Super is a good choice. Súper Selectos uses a strategy which is designed to make the shopper feel like he or she is "winning" at shopping.  This highly successful tactic is the Oferta.   Salvadorans are crazy about special offers.  OK, so admittedly, we are too.  But Salvadorans are famously crazy for the ofertas.  They joke about it all t