This Saturday, September 29, nineteen youth from Comunidad Segundo Montes graduated from two months of drawing and painting classes that had been facilitated by Painter Eric Vargas and financed by Voices on the Border. In addition to celebrating the graduation, we also inaugurated the mural of the Memorial Temple of Martyrs and Hero’s, which was a process of collective efforts that lasted for more than a year.
Some fifteen youth from varying municipalities of Morazán are creating a community vegetable garden. The youth were trained in how to prepare the beds from recycled plastic bottles and organic soil and how to plant the seeds. Just this week they have planted chile, tomato, radishes, ginger, oregano,
and banana plants.
The youth are replicating this gardening knowledge by teaching six grade school children the steps of creating an organic vegetable garden.
For the past eight years the caserío of Las Raíces, located in the municipality of Torola has hosted a
commemorative vigil in honor of some 233 civilians that were massacred by the Armed Forces in 1980. This year the commemoration was held yesterday, July 29. In addition to being a unique demonstration of unity and solidarity among those of northern Morazán, the activity also gave space to artistic performances by musical and theater groups from the zone.
This year, the commemoration began at 7:00 am with an hour and a half hike from the town of Jocoaitique to a cleared space of Las Raíces. Participants crossed a river on the way. Las Raíces was arranged with artisanal, wooden benches, a banner listing the names of the massacred and floral arrangements.
Father Rogelio Ponseel, a Belgium priest and liberation theologist that came to El Salvador during the
Civil War and has lived for more twenty years in Morazán, initiated the ceremony with a popular mass of the Misa Campesina. Mass was accompanied with music from Sebastian Torogoz and Tiempos de Cambio.
There were also musical performances from Grupo Morazán as well as folkloric dance performances from the San Fernando dance group and theater performances by the JAQ (Artistic Youth from Quebrachos).
Strengthening Cultural Identity through Conserving Historical Memory
The history of northern Morazán holds common themes through which community members can
collectively identify. This is historical memory. These common themes can be poverty, landlessness, and oppression. They can also be the struggle and the fight to overcome structural and physical violence.Annual commemorations such as the Vigil in Las Raíces are an active effort at preserving the collective historical memory of northern Morazán.
Instead of holding history at arm’s length as a useless relic, community members of northern Morazán have taken ownership of their past, carrying their history into the present in order to not forget what they have already struggled and in order to not repeat it. By constantly engaging in their past, more relevance is given to their daily lives and their cultural identity is strengthened.
Since its inauguration this past January 13th, the Center for Documentation and Technological Exhibition for Food Security (CEDESAN) in the coloniaof
San Luis, municipality of Meanguera, has offered a space for academic, social, and intellectual learning for youth and women with the objective of reducing food insecurity in Northern Morazán. Currently some 30 women are undergoing workshops on bread-making. The Center is also facilitating workshops on women’s nutritional and reproductive health, jewelry-making, piñata-making, and is creating a vegetable garden of chile, tomato, radishes, and cilantro.
The Center is organized by PRESANCA, who according to their website, strives to reduce food and
nutritional insecurity in vulnerable populations in Central America. PRESANCA is financed by the European Union, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, the United Nations Development Fund, and the government of Finland.
On July 25th, representatives of the Communal Association of United Communities for Economic and
Social Development of the Lower Lempa(ACUDESBAL) met with beneficiaries of the Segundo Montes Foundation (FSM). On this day, some 57 FSM community leaders exchanged histories and stories of struggles with representatives of the 29 communities that compose ACUDESBAL. The day was an opportunity for both communities to exchange experiences and knowledge of their distinct formation processes as organized communities as well as the various projects that they have been developing. It was decided that the organized communities share the goal of reaching a level of self-sustainability.
Many of the shared experiences between ACUDESBAL and FSM community leaders pertain to their projects that stimulate economic productivity. In the case of the Lower Lempa, the organized communities run a bakery, a candy shop, a community chicken coop, vegetable garden in the summer months, and some of the families receive small credits, all of which are very important for the
auto-sustainability of the associated families that would otherwise have no income.
In the case of FSM, the organized members, some 200 of them, have been working towards food security and environmental conservation. They have developed projects of fowl, fishponds and greenhouses. Community members have acquired the basic yet fundamental tools about caring for the fowl: how to give a vaccination as well as antibiotics, and local alternative foods for the fowl. The FSM has also facilitated the reforestation of the zone as well as increased the environmental consciousness of community members. This year FSM developed a nursery of forest and fruit trees that were distributed among FSM members and planted in their communities.