Showing posts from February, 2019

Rain in the Dry Season

For centuries, El Salvador has had fairly predictable dry seasons and wet seasons.  January, February and March are typically dry, hot and dusty.  A little rain falls in April, and then in May the wet season begins.  From May through November, El Salvador receives almost daily afternoon thunderstorms, which often last through the night.  Tropical storms and hurricanes from the Gulf of Mexico often bring days of torrential rains, as do the less frequent hurricanes from the Pacific.  Flooding and landslides are annual threats for much of the country. Of course, altitude, presence of trees and proximity to the coast create slightly different climate zones within El Salvador.  Changes in global weather patterns due to the warming of our planet impact the weather in El Salvador too, and the historic dates of when to plant crops are a little less reliable. However, more or less, the seasons come and go as expected:  you either carry a rain umbrella every day and fight the humidity, or you

Just Click: The Art of Defying Physics

Just a few physics-defying photos from January and February, 2019... Even after almost twenty years, crazy quantities of stuff piled into pick-up trucks still captures my attention.  Plastic resin chairs are THE staple seating option found everywhere from offices to churches to schools to clinics to homes.  They now come in lots of fun colors. Prior to the election, we observed large quantities of chairs in Nayib Bukele blue (celeste).   Anybody sleepy? This colorful creation is pretty cleverly balanced, though I am  not sure how it would do on a really windy day!  Lots of churches have a  small stash of colchones or mattresses for delegations and youth groups that  spend the night.  These are also pretty typical of mattresses found in many homes. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.  Doesn't it seem like maybe the two people waiting at the bus stop should take evasive action? Sugar cane and garbage (in this case, recycling) are two of the most commonly haule

Observations from the 2019 Presidential Election

It was an honor to serve as an international observer for the 2019 presidential election in El Salvador, as part of a national and international team coordinated by FECLAI - the organization of historic protestant churches in Central America.  More than 2000 international observers volunteered to serve in the recent election.  They came from across the globe, from churches, from non-governmental organizations and from embassies (including the US Embassy in El Salvador).  Observers are trained and credentialed.  Observers are awarded access to all phases of the election process, and are present in voting centers across the country on election day.   Observing is about presence.  Observers do not intervene or correct.  Observers do watch, take notes, photograph and file formal reports. The election process in El Salvador is transparent and very different from that in the United States.  It is "old school" and it works.  A year ago, I wrote a variety of stories about the

Just Click: The Night before the Election

At 5 AM, ballots will be delivered to polls in sealed boxes.  Citizen poll workers, political party election watchers, and national and international election observers will begin their work as El Salvador conducts a presidential election.  Here are some final pre-election images from around the capital city... Local mayors across the country promote their political parties on billboards and overpasses Official campaigns ended the previous weekend.  A caravan of buses decked out with FMLN propaganda headed into San Salvador Candidate forum for international election observers - the FMLN ticket VP Candidate for GANA - Nuevas Ideas Voting centers popped up on Thursday.  The centers are run by the political parties and are located near to the polling places. Each party typically has a center at each polling site for the purpose of assisting voters in finding where they are registered to vote. Party flags are permitted.  Party flags with an X throu