On our way to the Communidad de las Brisas, you can’t help but notice the advertisements taking over every street corner, wall, and telephone post. Except these ads aren’t selling the latest stylish shoes or the most recent iPhone, but trying to sell the people of Santa Ana on their future. These are political ads bracing the public for the upcoming election. While I don’t know much about the election’s issues, one thing is certain: El Salvadorians are frustrated. The frustration stems from the lack of progress. Residents are disappointed by the failed promises of the party in power to fix dilapidated infrastructure.
As bad as the situation may be, there is no shortage of hope. Upon entering the community, we were greeted by a celebration consisting of music, dancing, stories, and poetry. Smiles lit up the event while we introduced ourselves to the locals. It was apparent how much they cherished what they had and knew that their situations, as tough as they may be, could be even worse. It didn’t take long for me to realize that our mission there was not to “help” them, but to understand them. Their hope derives from this understanding. As fun as today was, it’s time to get to work.