Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mel - Day 7 (sorry it's a bit late)

Ahhh…. Sleeping in… what a beautiful thing. We agreed that after our crazy disco night that we shouldn’t push ourselves and so agreed that we would meet for breakfast at noon and then head over to Es Artes after that.

When we arrived we discovered that the room was finished being painted and we set to work. Over the next couple of hours I drafted the pattern for the small and medium size of tunics, measured out the fabric to be dyed and the other fabrics we will be using, and Sean and I finalized what fabric would be used for which group of characters and had some further discussions about the design of the show. It was a very successful afternoon and this greatly helped put my mind at ease knowing that at least this pattern was done – pattern drafting not being my forte!

We had a let down when we found out that the pool closes at 5pm on Sundays :( so we headed off to the Town Square for cervezas instead. Let’s talk about the Square shall we. What a vibrant, welcoming, wonderful place the Town Square is. On the weekends there are food and slushy carts that come out and a whole market of craft stalls is set up. During the weekdays it is bustling with people as soon as they are done work and on Sat. and Sun. it is like this all day long. It seems like all the town’s children were gathered there – some playing soccer, three were having a race from the fountain to a tree, and two more were hopping from cobblestone to cobblestone. Grandmothers and grandfathers, moms and dads, neighbours and friends all gather in the Square. Life is vibrant here. It made me sad for Stratford (and many town and cities in Canada) whose town life is being pushed out of its core and into suburbs and shopping centres. Where is the human connection? We seem to have forgotten the importance of taking the time to say ‘Hello! How was your day?’ and truly taking the time to be interested and listen to their answer. Perhaps if Stratford’s downtown core was more than a parking lot and bus depot we would have this kind of vibrancy here. I should be clear that we definitely have this kind of connection and attitude within the shops themselves, however it is when you leave those spaces and walk outside to concrete that that joy is lost. I realize that this also takes a change in people’s attitudes as well and maybe I am putting the cart before the proverbial horse in wishing for a re-design of our ‘town square’ but I can’t help but ruminate over what might be… Alright. I will get off of my soapbox now. :)

Well… wait… I have to sort of step back up there for a moment - but on a completely different topic. We were also told a story today by one of the actors working with us that has upset me quite a bit. I can’t do anything to change the situation but I feel the need to share it with you and maybe this same kind of thing can be avoided in some small way elsewhere. It seems that the main job of this actor is to teach acting to a group of – how do I put it politely – disadvantaged youth in San Salvador. Basically this arts program (acting, drawing, dance etc.) is what keeps most of these kids going as it gives them some positive thing to look forward to during their week. Well, this teacher showed up at the school on Sat. to teach their class only to find no students at all and all of the rest of the teachers crowded around wondering what was happening. Eventually, someone arrived to announce that the program had been ‘suspended’ while the new government (who took control under a year ago) was reviewing all of the old governments programs. Really what is happening is that the new government is just canceling any program that was created by the previous government. The teachers, understandably, are truly devastated. Not only do they all lose their jobs with no warning at all but hundreds of children are left to suffer the consequences of this decision. Argh!!!!! Politics!!!!! Who is going to be harmed by this – the previous government, their policy makers, their supporters? No! It’s innocent children who now have one less good thing in their lives. In a city and country that is so plagued by gang violence and criminal activity why on earth would you cancel a program that was keeping the youth from gravitating towards these activities? Arghhhh!!!!! Ok… now I’m definitely getting off my soapbox. (and hopefully will not be imprisoned for it! :)

We ended our evening with a lovely dinner at Gringos with Patricia and Ojenia. I tried the Tortilla Soup. It was spectacular! We found out at dinner that we have apparently come to El Salvador at the worst time of year. It’s the time of year that is the hottest, with subsequently the most disease, when even the locals get sick! (I feel slightly vindicated regarding my recent intestinal woes)

Travel Tip of the Day:

Don’t come to El Salvador in March – wait til December instead :)


  1. Keep on the soap box, my dear.

  2. I agree, Mel. I haven't been to Stratford lately, but it sounds typical...ya gotta work on that downtown when you return. And as for the program in San Salvadore...hopefully you can influence the government in a positive way, through one teacher at a time. We're with you and loving your blog.

  3. If ever there was a need to establish a human rights project in an area, you just hit upon one. If you can motivate and enable the teachers to take action..anything is possible. Perhaps a subsidary of your project could be a program for those youth?

    Enjoying and waiting on everyword ...:))