Places to Visit in El Salvador

Bandera

This past January 16th, El Salvador celebrated 25 years since Peace Accords were signed to end a brutal civil war. That same week a piece of art went on display in MARTE, El Salvador’s art museum, to celebrate the anniversary. The piece of art quite literally laid out the still fought for peace that so many long for. That artist’s name is Carmen Elena Trigueros and her piece is called simply Bandera, meaning “flag.” I recently chaperoned a field trip with my daughter’s class and Bandera was one of the pieces featured by the guide. When I saw Bandera I stood there small, struck by the beauty of the piece and the enormity of the task spilling out across the floor. The flag was white and long and stretched up […]

Staff Retreat 2015

We have an amazing team working with us. When we started building our programs, and dreaming about new projects and ministries we prayed that God would bring the right people to our team and He surely has. They all bring unique gifts, talents, and stories to the table and they are fun to work with. Just before Easter, we had our annual staff retreat.  All of us work in an urban environment everyday and the truth is that it can be exhausting after awhile. A change of scenery is great for everyone, so we packed up beach gear, food, and all of our staff and headed out to Punta Mango in the department of San Miguel. The trip took us about 3 hours but it was worth it to arrive at […]

An Afternoon in Ataco

Well, this is not a travel blog, but I still like to share bits and pieces of what El Salvador is like. There is a colonial legacy here that adds to the color and history of the country. Learning about culture and history are important elements to take into account when living and serving outside of our own contexts. There is value in seeking to understand the story that someone else has behind their life. A month or so ago the kids and I spent the afternoon with some friends in the colonial town of Ataco. We really enjoyed just walking the cobblestone streets, and exploring some local shops. I always enjoy when I get to be out of the city and be a tourist in El Salvador. The day was […]

Independence Day Weekend

I hate when the blog starts to fall behind, but it’s inevitable with crazy weeks like this past week’s party madness. So, I am finally getting around to an update about Independence Day weekend. Independence Day in El Salvador is on September 15th. On that day in 1821 El Salvador declared independence from Spain. Today it is celebrated through special events in schools, towns, and all kinds of public places. This year we had the added bonus of a three day weekend because the holiday fell on a Monday. Some Salvadoran friends invited us to their “rancho” on the beach in the eastern party of the country where we have never been before. El Salvador never falls to surprise and delight me and this weekend was no exception. The beaches are […]

Names on a Wall – Our Visit to a Civil War Memorial

The summer has flown by so fast! Today our last intern is finishing her last day of work. Every year we hope that our interns can learn a little something about El Salvador while they are here, so we try to start the summer off with a short history lesson. Back in June on a rainy morning we took our kids and our interns to visit the memorial wall in Parque Cuscatlan before heading to the National Cathedral downtown. Our friend Cruz shared some history about the war with our interns. The wall was built to honor the more than 75,000 Salvadorans who were killed during the Salvadoran Civil War in the 80s and early 90s. The memorial is called “Monumento a la Memoria y la Verdad” which means the […]

Hiking the Santa Ana Volcano

This past weekend, we did some new, fun stuff in El Salvador. We went to see the national soccer team play (a first for the kids and I), and I will post more on that later. We also finally (finally!) took the time to hike the Santa Ana Volcano. In the native language, it is known as Illamatepec. Jon has done it before but the kids and I haven’t and I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I wish I had taken more pictures on the climb up, because it was an absolutely spectacular day. However I got a few and you can see the flowers in full bloom. The flowers and trees slowly gave way to a desolate landscape. Santa Ana last erupted in 2005 so […]

Indigo

A few weeks ago Tori and I had a truly beautiful experience on her class field trip. We went to a hacienda that allows visitors the opportunity to learn about the indigo-dye process. Back in colonial days, El Salvador was a major exporter of indigo dye for the world. This gave the land enough economic security to declare independence. Since then, times have changed and synthetics have taken over.  We got to see how things used to be, and it is an experience I would recommend to anyone who visits El Salvador. The beautiful Hacienda San Juan Buenavista 500 year old ceiba tree Indigo dye comes from this plant It starts green and is pounded out from the plant. Tori is making an impression on a piece of fabric with […]

A Day at the Lake – Lago de Coatepeque

About an hour from San Salvador there is a beautiful crater lake that was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions many thousands of years ago. The lake is clean and sparkles emerald in some places. This weekend, our generous friends invited us to spend the day at their lake house. It was wonderful to soak in the sun, be in nature, and connect with friends and family. By the end of the day, I was reminded how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful place. The weather was perfect, and the views were spectacular. Jon proclaimed it the most relaxing day he has had in at least a year! Everyone enjoyed it, so if you are ever in El Salvador make sure to check out Lago de […]

Downtime

It feels like we’ve been “up” a lot lately.  I’ve learned in my life that if I stay up for too long, I eventually fall down. That’s why we decided to make an intentional effort to be “down” during the kids’ Christmas break from school. It gave us a chance to catch up on sleep, to take it slow, and to spend some time connecting as a family. A bonus is that we got to do lots of fun stuff that we have to put off doing when we are “up.” This is what “downtime” looks like around our house… spending time with the kiddos celebrating a traditional Latin American Christmas watching Christmas Eve fall over San Salvador lighting fireworks in the streets with our friends like crazy people looking up […]

A Walk on Good Friday

Yesterday we took a walk on the streets of Santa Tecla, just outside of San Salvador, to view the beautiful alfombras, meaning “carpets” in English. These are beautiful creations of sawdust and sand that are dyed bright colors and crafted into pictures of Christ’s life and death. They form the “carpet” for the Good Friday processions as they pass on their way to evening services. Different groups, churches, and families sponsor the carpets and they get up early in the morning to create these works of art in the streets. It has become a family tradition for us to enjoy the culture of El Salvador each Good Friday. Here are some pictures from our walk down the street yesterday: The kids and I! Ian checking out the alfombras. Street vendors selling […]