Into the Cantones
Liaison Herberdh’s friend, Tony, picked us up in his SUV about 9:30 and we were off! Tony has a driver’s license (unlike many drivers here) and insurance on his SUV – 2 things we insisted on since we’re foreigners. Tony spent many years in the States and speaks good English. He was a GREAT guide!
We took the “Ruta de Paz” (Route of Peace) which used to be called “Ruta Militar” (Military Route.) Tony says a lot of names have been changed but it is important only if people’s attitudes change also. We stopped in San Franciso Gotera at an old church and stretched our legs; and again in Delicias de Conception to explore a cemetery where tombs are carved right into the rocks. We also spent a few minutes at Radio Segundo Monte which is now privately owned by a religious organization. It’s slogan, “Vencerémos,” we will win, is taken from the guerrilla forces during the civil war.
Then we were on to the village of Perquin right on the Honduran border. We checked in to the Hotel Perquin Lenca (which is the name of the language group that historically lived in the area.) This was the center of the revolutionary movement during the civil war and there is a very good museum here where we took a guided tour. The guides are ex-revolutionary soldiers, most of whom were wounded in the war. Tony translated the information for us and we look at hundreds of photos and artifact displays. The guide stressed several times that the purpose of the museum was not to glorify the Civil War, but to remind the young people of El Salvador that there has to be a better way to solve their problems and make their country a better place for people to live.
We had a nice dinner at the hotel and went to bed early. The other volunteers LOVED the cool weather that comes from being at a high altitude.