“La Gran Puchika”
Things are in limbo at the moment. I am currently staying at Rafael Ayala’s house in San Salvador, he is the regional manager of ArtCorps and a teacher by profession. His family has been kind enough to put me up for the time being until i get my feet on the ground and find my own place. Tomorrow morning I am scheduled to visit a few spots that I found in the classifieds. Hopefully I find something that works.
I have had a relatively slow introduction into the life in El Salvador, small outings with Rafa and his family, regular day to day errands, however there is so much I feel like exploring. I understand however that I do need to take it in stride and really get to know my surroundings first. Gang violence is a serious problem in many parts of the city with the most notorious street gangs being the MS-13 and the 18th street gangs. I wont go into detail just yet however both gangs were spawned in Los Angeles, U.S.A. and their control of crime in El Salvador as well as Guatemala and Honduras is tight. Needless to say, I have not once had my camera out with me. I have to test the waters first – as bad as the trigger finger wants it i must resist.
Antonieta, one of the artists working in El Salvador came o friday evening to spend the weekend with us, and has also just come down with a stomach flu – similar to what I had just this past week. Hopefully I will have the chance to visit her community later this week once I have found a place and got settled. Rafa and I are going to start planning our first tour which will consist of two or three day visits to each artist. From that first round I will gather the nessesary info such as bus costs and schedules, travel times and artists respective schedules to start formulating a tentative time table for my year. I still have no concrete idea of how many time I will visit each artist but that is not important right now – I just need to go with the flow.
For anyone who has ever been to El Salvador before, I am sure you are familiar with Pupusas. If not, then wow. They are very similar to tortillas in their appearance, however, cut into them – or rather, tear into them with your fingers – and you will soon discover they are filled with culinary delishiousness. In english this means that they are filled with all different kinds of ingredients such as cheese, beans, corn, sausage, shrimp, spices, tomato, and many others depending on where you get them. They are simply perfect. They come made from either rice or corn, I have only so far tried rice which I am told is an entirely different experience from corn – i love new experiences so this works out in my favour.
I have been trying to begin to form some sort of opinion on the economic situation in El Salvador, but as I have already explained, I have not spent nearly enough time to come up with any legit hypothesis what so ever. This will come later – possibly much later. For now I will simply continue to be an observer, and try my best to record and analyze what it is that I see so that maybe I might eventually understand it better.