SAN SALVADOR – I have great hopes for this little country on the Pacific Coast, this country of volcanic landscapes and volatile history – a country whose name means The Savior. I am curious to learn what the crucible of revolution may have wrought on the human spirit here. Much has been written of the Maras, the gangs with roots in the paramilitary death squads and in the barrios of Los Angeles and Houston and New York, and their ruthless exploits throughout the country – for the record, I haven’t seen any yet.
Far less has been written of the revolutionaries who turned their passion for justice into grassroots movements for change.
COATEPEQUE LAKE, El Salvador – The palms are swaying restlessly in the electric darkness, waiting for the storm to arrive. Lightning flashes over Santa Ana Volcano on the far side of the lake; just a few minutes ago I was walking along the shore with Elmer, catching the last bits of sunset over the lake.
He sensed the storm coming before I did. “Ya viene el agua,” he said. Literally, “Now the water is coming.” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect; rainy season notwithstanding, El Salvador gifted me with a blue sky my first full day in the country, perfect for visiting the pyramids of Tazumal and Casa Blanca, then catching a bus to this sparkling expanse of blue amid the volcanoes.