El Salvador 2012 trip diary: Archaeological sites

By Ruthann Marquis

Today our travels took us northwest of San Salvador to visit two different archaeological sites.  One was discovered in 1976 by accident, as land was being cleared for construction. It has since led to the unearthing of several homes from the year 590 AD, when an explosion of the Laguna Caldera covered the indigenous people and their homes with molten lava.

Typically there were three buildings in a housing complex: one for storage, one that served as a kitchen and one was for sleeping.  However, after seeing the hard bed platforms in the dormitories, it was a far cry from what we know as beds today!  However, the sauna definitely looked to have been ingeniously designed to cleanse the body, if you could get that body through the small entrance hole!

We shared the second site with the many school children in their colorful “field trip” T-shirts as we walked upon yet undiscovered fields and mounds. This area was home to the temples and probably connected to the first site we saw about 5 km away.

What was even more impactful than seeing the beginnings of indigo or strolling on land that was certain to contain entombed communities was what happened for Denise, one of our DFW travelers. She had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a dear friend´s mother, sister, brother and nephew. This friend, Alma, had fled El Salvador 20 years ago at the end of the Civil War.  She has not been back to El Salvador since then.  She has not even met her youngest brother or seen her sister´s child. Like many Salvadorians living in the USA, she sends regular remittances to her family in her native homeland to help them have a better life.  And with her money they do. But she cannot return to visit “home” and they cannot afford to visit her. Years and bureaucracy separate them.

It was a joyful and tear-filled visit for Denise and yet another reminder to me that the world sometimes feels small enough to reach out and touch someone. And that she did.