A Long Awaited Trip to El Salvador
Ever since I was a girl I’ve wanted to go to El Salvador. Probably not for the same reasons other kids wanted to go places — or even the same reasons I wanted to go other places.
In 1980 four American Catholic women were raped and murdered in El Salvador by members of the National Guard.
The victims were 49-year-old Maura Clarke, and 40-year-old Ita Ford, Maryknoll sisters from New York; Dorothy Kazel, a 40-year-old Ursuline nun from Cleveland; and Jean Donovan, a 27-year old lay missionary who was engaged to be married, also from Cleveland.
These were women who were working with people who feared for their lives every day, people who were targeted by their own government because they were fighting for a better future for their children. As a child I was appalled that women who wanted nothing other than to help people had been raped and murdered by men who should have been protecting them. I found out that my own government was funding those men, funding the government that was targeting its people, and that knowledge sparked what became a longtime involvement in seeking social justice in Central America.
When we first started our journey in the Foreign Service the country we really wanted to serve in was Guatemala — it was a country I’d been to as a girl and one I’d completely fallen in love with, as I’ve blogged about before. But, as with all things Foreign Service, it wasn’t up to us and we ended up in Guinea, a first post that brought us both joy and profound loss but taught us a lot about who we are.
Fast forward to now, to Honduras. I loved living in Costa Rica but it didn’t feel like the Central America I remembered from my childhood. But Honduras? I’ve fallen in love with this region all over again and love that we can easily travel within it. I’ve just discovered that I neglected to blog about the trip we took to Guatemala, where we stayed in the lovely village of Flores and where we were able to introduce our children to the majesty of the Mayan world when we took them to Tikal. Their shouts of excitement when they first spotted the ruins as we walked through the jungle brought a huge smile to my face because the first time I saw those ruins I was just a girl — and I remember that awe I felt at the hugeness of the pyramids. I remember how amazing it was to me that I was walking in the footsteps of an ancient people. And I saw that same amazement on the faces of our children. Being able to share that with them was such a gift. I need to blog about that trip.
Anyway — El Salvador. A few weeks ago we rented a house on Playa El Cuco, El Salvador. The children were giggling at me as we neared the border of El Salvador because I was squealing with delight while repeating “I can’t believe I’m finally going to El Salvador!” We crossed the border with ease and, by looking around, you never would have guessed you were in a country that had relatively recently experienced a brutal civil war.
We spent the next few days in a state of relaxation — mornings swimming in the ocean, afternoons lounging in hammocks with books or playing football in the pool, evenings with local beer and beautiful sunsets. I think sometimes our children forget they don’t need the internet and video games in order to be entertained and seeing them spend hours curled up with books was so nice. And Playa Cuco is absolutely beautiful!
The kids had so much fun playing in the ocean and the pool, being able to just step out the back door and have the ocean right there was amazing!
Once the heat of the day was over the beach was the perfect place for football!
And the sunset from our house, through the palm trees, was gorgeous!
We spent a lot of time at Playa Intipuca, the next beach over from Playa El Cuco and at La Tortuga Verde, a hotel that also has a fantastic restaurant with so many vegetarian options — our kids were in heaven. And, this …
And because they had so much fun we went back in the afternoon and rented boards
This was a nice way to spend our last night in El Salvador
Did I mention the sunsets are amazing?
The next morning we had one last breakfast at La Tortuga Verde and said goodbye to Playa El Cuco and Play Intipuca. But only for a little while because we’re going back as soon as possible!