You are on page 1of 5

Team Monterey 5 El Salvador 2011

—Key Dates—

November 22nd $500 Deposit

Please make checks out to EcoViva and drop them off at the
Cashier’s Desk (open between 9am and 1pm, Mon-Fri).

December 3rd Second Pre-departure Meeting (Mandatory)

Same time and place: 2-5pm in MG99. Please reserve the date for
team-building activities, logistics, project team assignments and
more project information.

December 6th Remainder of program fees ($1500) DUE

January 2-22nd On the ground in El Salvador

Dates are tentative and depend upon flight availability.

—Things to Bring to El Salvador—

Earplugs—If you are a light sleeper, I would recommend bringing some for the first few
nights. The dogs, roosters will be up earlier than you. Eventually you will get use to it.

Medicine—EmergenC, decongestant, Tylenol PM, Imodium, Advil etc.

Sunscreen—Yeah, it’s sunny and hot. I recommend a size you can throw in a bag.

Bug repellant—It’s hot and humid and there are plenty of bugs.

Sleep sack—The light ones from REI are perfect. (Optional: Your host family will
provide you with sheets, though usually not a blanket. If you are a cold sleeper, I
recommend bringing something light to cover yourself with.)

Light weight mosquito net—To hang over your bed. (Optional: Not absolutely essential in
January, when the bugs are not as abundant as in the rainy season.) I didn’t bring one and
woke up with several new bites every morning. My roommates did bring them and found
them hard to find, not impermeable, but they woke up with fewer bites.

Face cleansing wipes—It’s easier than going outside to wash the dust from your face,
and you will be sweating a lot.

Anti-bacterial soap—If you have contacts, be sure to bring a little bottle of anti-bacterial
soap to wash your hands with. There are usually no sinks in the houses, but rather a water
basin next to the house.
Instant anti-bacterial gel—You may want this for after the latrines. Baby wipes or
sanitizing hand wipes work just as well. (Optional: I recommend bringing soap or anti-
bacterial gel, or both, but you should bring your own hand cleanser in some form.)

Power bars/granola bars—If you have a fast metabolism, this is important. Sometimes
you will be out working and will get home late for dinner. Be careful not to bring
anything that will melt too easily.

Big water bottle—Drink lots of water to stay hydrated!! The host families, our base
headquarters in Ciudad Romero and the Offices of Asociación Mangle all have purified
water that you can use to refill your personal bottles. In the field, however, you must
bring your own supply.

Comfortable walking shoes/sandals—You will be walking a lot. In some areas, the streets
will be dirty and littered with garbage and manure, so it us up to you if you choose to
wear open-toed sandals. If you plan on bringing flip-flops, I recommend bringing a pair
of sneakers or other durable shoes as well.

Lightweight, breathable clothes—It will be hot, so bring lightweight clothes and also one
sweater or rain jacket because it can get a bit chilly in the evenings. Clothing should be
temperature appropriate, but not revealing. Shorts above the knee are NOT advisable for
women, but capri pants are ok.

Sunglasses and/or a hat—Some days you will spend

Small alarm clock—I used my ipod last year, but had to keep it charged.

Small day bag—To carry your water, lunch maybe, notebook etc.

Flashlight—A head-lamp is good for going out to the latrines at night.

Toilet paper—Some will be provided to you at your host house, but I recommend
bringing some anyway. My roommate brought her own, and all of us in the household
relied on her because our host mother wasn’t always around to ask for more.

Journal—It will help you capture vocabulary words for your glossaries and give you
somewhere to record your adventures.

Camera—Will be essential to collecting data. We used many of our photos to illustrate

points in our final report.

Two-pronged adapters—Outlets will be two-pronged, so if your power cords are three-

pronged, be sure to bring an adapter. (You will not need a voltage converter.)

Trash bags—Helpful to collecting your personal recyclables and also for protecting your
backpack, luggage and self from rainy weather (which is unlikely in January).
—Things to Expect in El Salvador

Eating a heavy breakfast at 7am—They have cereal some mornings, but a lot of the time
it’s tortillas, beans, fried plantains, eggs etc. Eat up! It’s soooo good!

You may or may not eat with your family—This may seem a little odd at first. They eat at
different times and will probably sit by while you eat. Try to speak in Spanish at the table
so you can engage them in the conversation.

They use latrines at your host homes—Latrines are often in a corner of the yard, away
from the house. You will have to trek out there at night.

Taking cold showers—It will be hot, so you will not really want hot water. The cold can
be a little bit shocking at first, but it will wake you right up and can be very refreshing
after a long, sweaty, dirty day or first thing in the morning.

Working long hours—The day will start early and it will finish late. We often return to
the base after dinner to do more work or plan for the next day

We will (should) have internet access—The center we use as our base headquarters in
Ciudad Romero installed wifi internet last year that was fairly reliable most of the time.

Washing your own clothes by hand—Laundry soap will be provided, but you may have to
wash your own clothes. Last year, most host mothers offered to wash clothes once a week
for a minimal fee (I think it was 25 cents per item).

Bring what you need—The location we will be staying is remote. Bring what you need
and do not count on finding it in a store down there.

Computer charging—Host families use very limited electricity so please only charge
phones and computers at your host home when absolutely necessary. Our base
headquarters has sufficient outlets for you to use, and you can lock your computer in a
team leader’s room to let it charge during the day.

Storing your recyclables—Ciudad Romero burns all their trash, including harmful
plastics. In order not to contribute to the problem, we collect all of our own glass and
plastic bottles during our stay and carry them to the airport to recycle them.

It’s not all work, no play—We will take two weekend excursions away from Ciudad
Romero. (Locations are still being discussed, but will most likely include Suchitoto, a
beautiful colonial town where unas ancianas taught us to hand roll cigars last year.)
Suggested Readings: El Salvador

• Cordova, Carlos B. The Salvadoran Americans, Westport, CT, The New

Americans Series, Greenwood Press, 2005
• Danner, Mark. The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War, New
York, Vintage Books, 1994
• Didion, Joan. Salvador. New York. Simon and Schuster, 1982 (Reprinted by
Knopf in 1994)
• LaFeber, Walter. Inevitable Revolutions; The United States in Central America.
New York, W. W. Norton & Company. Second Edition, 1993
• Murray, Kevin. El Salvador: Peace on Trial. Oxfam Publishing. 1997
• Sobrino, Jon, et al. Companions of Jesus: the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador,
Maryknoll, New York. Orbis Books, 1990
• Wallace, Scott. “You Must Go Home Again: Deported L.A. Gangbangers Take
Over El Salvador,” Harpers Magazine, New York, August 2000
• Wood, Elizabeth Jean. Forging Democracies From Below: Insurgent
Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador, New York. Cambridge University
Press, 2000

Suggested Films:

• Innocent Voices. Dir. Luis Mandoki, following an eleven-year-old boy through

his involvement in the Salvadoran civil war.
• Romero. Produced by the Paulist Press in the 1980s, which chronicles Archbishop
Romero’s transformation from conservative to activist, and his eventual murder
by the death squads. (Raul Julia in the title role.)
• Salvador. Dir. Oliver Stone, chronicling the attempts by an American journalist
(James Wood) at the height of the civil war to get at the truth in an increasingly
nightmarish scenario.

Terminology and other Online Resources:

• Casalbe, Jim. Puro Guanaco: Diccionario de Salvadoreñismos, Santa Tecla, El

Salvador, 2003
• Rivas, Pedro Geoffroy. La Lengua Salvadoreña: El Español que Hablamos en
El Salvador. San Salvador. Segunda Edicion, 1999
• EcoViva: Community-led Initiatives for a Sustainable Future,
• Diccionario de la Real Academia Española:
- Diccionario de Sinónimos:
- Glosario Internacional Para El Traductor by Marina Orellana

Related Interests