For the next week I will be headed to Ciudad Romero in the department of Usulatan in El Salvador to assist the local population through their NGO La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa (Lempa is for the Lempa river which runs near the town). Directed by La Coordinadora, I will work on social justice projects such as planting, digging ditches for the laying of water lines and other tasks.
El Salvador is a poor, densely populated country with 6.7 million inhabitants. Life expectancy is 71.2 years and infant mortality is 25.1 deaths/1,000 live births (compared to 77.7 and 6.5 respectively in the United States). Fortunately, AIDS is not a problem in this country; only 0.7% of the population is infected. Although El Salvador is small and 36.1% of the population lives below the poverty line, it does have the third largest economy in Central America and a GDP per capita figure of $5,100. Over 16% of GDP, however, comes from remittances from Salvadorans living abroad. Politics in El Salvador is rarely stable, whether that be due to military dictatorships (such as Oscar Osorio and Fidel Sanchez Hernandez in the mid 1900s) or revolutionary Marxists groups (such as the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional). In 1980-1992 civil war, rightist death squads created havoc for the local populations who would oppose their policies. Since the resolution of the war, however, El Salvador has been a peaceful place and the FMLN has even reconstituted itself as a legitimate political party.
For all those in cold weather cities, I’m sorry to say that Weather.com‘s ten day forecast has highs between 88 and 95 degrees every day.
My posts will resume on April 3rd. Hasta luego.
Source for Statistics on El Salvador: CIA World Factbook