Central American Journey

El Salvador and beyond…

Our week in El Rodeo, part 1

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We have now spent around 2 weeks in El Salvador.   We spent a week mostly in El Rodeo, the small sister community of the Washington Ethical Society which we are members of.

el salvador with departmentsEl Rodeo is a small village in the hills of El Salvador’s Cabañas department (like a county), very near the Honduran border.  There are around 30 households.   The nearest town that appears on most maps is Victoria, the site of the community radio we visited.  There are no paved roads in El Rodeo.  You travel from building to building along dirt paths that get very slippery due to frequent rainfall during the rainy season (and it is currently the rainy season).   Here are some pictures of us walking down the slippery path.

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The houses have no running water.  Water is gathered in rain barrels or collected in pilas (large concrete containers about the size of a big bathtub).   The local water supply is contaminated, but the extent is unknown because recent water testing hasn’t been done.   Either way, we are gringos who aren’t used to the microorganisms that live in the water, so we had to trek many 5 gallon water bottles down the hill for us to drink (with help from the sure-footed residents).

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This is the local stream which is contaminated.

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Andrew standing behind a rain barrel

People cook outside on stoves heated by burning wood.  In the house we stayed in they also had an indoor stove like in the US, but we didn’t see it in use.   In the house where our food was prepared they used the indoor gas stove to make tortillas for every meal as well as other things.  Most of us took turns making tortillas during different meals.  It takes a lot of practice to make them perfectly round.

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Ross Wells took this beautiful photo in a previous delegation. This is a tortilla being shaped by hand.

The bathrooms are latrines, located various distances from the houses.

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A view of the latrine from outside the fence surrounding the property. The white cloth covered the entrance. You can see the back of the house just beyond it.

Every house keeps a retinue of chickens and dogs (which they call chucho, not perro), who are not pets.  Frequently there are also cats and horses.  And there are many insects that scurry and fly along the paths, into the houses, and into the latrines.   Danna, as always, was much loved by the mosquitoes.  Neither of us liked getting bitten by the the various types of biting ants.

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Leaf cutter ants – keep your distance!

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Here’s one of the cute kittens to help you forget about the biting insects. Danna partly overheard one of the women explain in Spanish what the kittens like to eat, but she misunderstood and thought the kitten’s name was “Tortilla.”

Before we came, we were under the impression that El Rodeo didn’t have electricity, but we were incorrect.  They do.  They also have many electrical appliances.  The lovely women who cooked for us made our frequent meals of refried beans with the aid of a blender.  Our host family had a flat screen tv which they watched some nights.

El Salvador 038The views were glorious, particularly from atop the hills where farmers grew corn (called milpas).

So here’s a bit of the lay of the land, a brief overview of what it was like to live in El Rodeo for a week.  In our next post(s) we’ll go into a little more detail about the people and history.

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2 thoughts on “Our week in El Rodeo, part 1

  1. Oh wow, you guys! It sounds like you guys are having quite a trip! I love the pictures! *hugs* Hope the bugs aren’t eating you up too badly, sis!

    • Thanks for commenting! We are having a great adventure so far and we have many more stories to tell. Try buying a cell phone in a language you don’t speak well. The only words we understood were “not functional” but we couldn’t figure out why they would sell a phone that did not work. 😞 Anyway. About the bugs, when we were in El Rodeo, I was using the organic insect repellent which did not say how many hours it lasts. I got bitten quite a lot. I decided when we got back to the city where dengue fever is more common to start using the 15%Deet stuff which lasts 12 hours. I have a lot fewer bites now but I smell like person-made chemicals.

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