I've had a busy couple of days here. On Sunday, we went to Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. The city was bustling with people, and the streets were very narrow, with old, crumbling buildings.
In Tegucigalpa we paid a visit to the Honduras Accompaniment Project, which is a program run by Americans and Canadians to offer international accompaniment to human rights defenders, who face political persecution and personal risk, in order to dissuade violence. This project also documents events and human rights abuses, and provides information to the international community regarding the situation in Honduras. This group provided us with an enlightening examination of the political and social situation in Honduras. I found it very interesting and inspiring that the human rights accompaniers were all young volunteers who were willing to sacrifice huge amounts of their time, energy, and personal comfort in order to support this project. The mural pictured above is from this organization.
The next day, we took the bus to San Salvador, El Salvador, the capital city. It was a long ride, but I got to enjoy the lovely green countryside and jungle views along the way.
Our first meeting today was with the youth wing of the FMLN, the socialist party whose members originated as guerrilla fighters during the civil war, but has now entered the political arena and is the party currently in power. We met with the FMLN national secretary of youth, Jose Velasco, who described some of the achievements and challenges that his party and El Salvador have encountered.
They seem to be doing a lot of work to support social justice and development, through things like supporting education by making it free and providing school lunches and uniforms. They are helping to support agriculture by giving training, providing seeds and fertilizer, and low interest loans for farmers. They are also trying to improve the tax system so that every day workers do not bear the brunt of the tax burden, while transnational companies get away without paying taxes.
Before dinner, we took a small hike up to a gorgeous viewpoint where you could see the whole city, the ocean, and a volcano (I've included a photo below). So far, my favorite Central-American food is 'Pupusas', which are fried corn tortillas filled with various fillings such as beans, cheese, or jalapeños. Son deliciosos!