Life in El Salvador



FILE PHOTO: The El Salvador national flag hangs outside the Consulate General of El Salvador in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Kolby Wring, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

El Salvador is a nation full of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and bold people, along with many other riches, and is a hidden gem that is often overlooked when people consider traveling abroad. During my one-week stay in El Salvador, I was quickly amazed by the locals with their strong work ethics as I helped the ministry. I traveled as these men and women worked rain or shine 7 days a week. Throughout the entire stay, these people were always waking up early and were very eager for not only face the day but the challenges as well. I was also enchanted by the Salvadoran family bond, as with most Central American nations family was the key to all aspects of life, which has descended from their ancestors of the mighty Mayan empire, whether it was everyday tasks like cleaning or cooking to even as far as construction sites. I saw that every worker has at least two pictures of their loved ones with them at all times. They used their family as an anchor to keep them grounded and to inspire them to always go above and beyond, especially to strangers like myself.

I believe that these family bonds tie into their generosity as well. When I was in the marketplace I was offered many different things for free but I declined as I knew these marketplaces were how these people made their livings to support themselves and their families and I had no desire to rob them of that. I also found their marketplaces to be nothing like here in the US. I had seen many unique items there that I couldn’t resist buying such as a little bookbag, a quilt, and a custom-made machete with my name inscribed on the blade along with a hand-crafted leather sheath that read “El Salvador”. In addition to their enchanting marketplaces, I quickly became fond of their cuisine as I tried many different things there like regional dorito’s, electrolyte, tortillas chips, and quite possibly the best thing of all the papusa. This traditional Salvadoran dish consisted of a flour tortilla grilled on rocks, which were then infused with cheese & beans and had a variety of flavors to choose from such as garlic, chorizo, or jalapeno papusa. But perhaps the best part of this savory dish was the sauce you spread on top of it. It was spiced and came from a tomato paste and was then topped with this spicy blend of carrots, lettuce, and, onion. I also enjoyed the energy the locals were filled with. Everywhere I turned, I saw smiling faces and playful kids as I played football (or soccer) with them. Many of these people used football as an outlet as many of the people there lived in poverty and struggled to make ends meet, along with being quite skilled at music, dancing, and even machete juggling!

But perhaps the best part of all was the people themselves. When I arrived there, I was welcomed with open arms and I was confused as I thought, “These people have never met me before.” And I still can’t understand how complete strangers would be willing to give me the clothes off their backs without hesitation, and that’s without adding in the language barrier! Before I knew it I made so many friends only to have to say goodbye to them. Although I only knew them for a short amount of time I knew no matter what we could have depended on each other through thick and thin. But if that experience and those people taught me anything it was to cherish all that I have and to always lend a helping hand as they told me it was simply “human nature” to help each other out despite our differences and to remember that we all are one and the same. It is through this experience that I can definitely say if you would love to travel abroad, keep El Salvador in mind.