Greetings from El Salvador!
After two good flights today, I arrived this afternoon to the very HOT and beautiful San Salvador. We arrived and had lunch at a cafeteria type restaurant. We then stopped at the beach and dipped our feet into the Pacific Ocean!
The water was warm and we interacted with two young girls selling mangos. They were selling them for a quarter a piece. When one of the other members of the group told them to keep the change, they were unsure as to how to proceed. They insisted on giving him back his 3 quarters, but he insisted that they keep it. It was interesting to witness how a gesture such as keeping the change is experienced differently in different cultures.
After the beach we headed to La Libertad Port, which is a fishing community and is lower-income.
A fishing community is not complete without a pier, which we explored. The pier was full of all sorts of seafood, vendors, and boats. We watched fish being caught and saw that someone had caught a baby shark!
While we were exploring, we were "joined" by a young girl and her brother. They followed us all over, but said little to us. She was selling cut fruit, but did not try to push it on us. I spoke to her a bit in Spanish and learned that she was 9 and her brother was 8. I believe he sold items as well. She told me that her parents were around, so I assumed that they sold goods to locals and tourists as well. The pier and surrounding area was full of vendors, selling all sorts of things.
Encountering this young girl, the two girls selling mangos, and the other young children selling items has been very tough and I am curious about the hardships of their young lives and what lies ahead for them in the future. Witnessing the poverty of children has been challenging, especially as I reflect on how vastly different children in the United States are expected to be treated and my own experiences in my privileged childhood. Child labor is a human rights issue, as humans have the right to an adequate standard of living that meets their needs and children have the right to special care and assistance. This issue is an important social work issue and I am interested in learning about what policies are in place surrounding this issue and what work has been done to advocate for this group.
Later we arrived at our beautiful hotel (pictures to soon follow!), the Hotel Oasis. Our hotel is located near a volcano and we are lucky to be taken care of by a wonderful staff! We had a yummy dinner and celebrated Mario's birthday.