EcoViva and the Mangrove Association have been working together in the communities of the Bajo Lempa, El Salvador for 16 years for sustainable, community-based development. They collaborated with the Estria Foundation to complete this mural, in the Interpretation Center located in a community called Las Mesitas. EcoViva and the Mangrove Association support a group of young artisans, who work from the center. Julio, one of the artisans, wrote this blog about his experience.
Written by: Julio Cesar Landaverde Ramírez
Julio is 24 years old, lives in the community of Amando López, and loves playing soccer.
It’s very exciting to be able to participate in these paintings, as it is an opportunity to learn and increase awareness of the importance of taking care of our environment. Our artisan group, with the help of our facilitator, Néstor Hernández, worked to complete these paintings in the Interpretation Center.
Sometimes, we were nervous because we were scared the paint would run down the wall. It was our first experience. The hours passed quickly and everyday, we were able to see our work. With enthusiasm, effort, and a lot of patience, we began to achieve our goal.
We only worked a few days, but it was fun to share these days with the other youth. With the laughter and jokes, we advanced with the hope of seeing the mural finished. For us, the opinion of the local community members who visited us during and after the process was very important- among the visitors were students and leaders of ADESCOs (Associations of Communal Development) who went to meetings held in the center, which hosts various community events. Everyone loved the mural, which reflects the Biosphere of Xirihualtique. Xirihualtique is another name for the Bay of Jiquilisco that means “the place to observe the stars.”
The Interpretation Center is located in the community Las Mesitas, in the western sector of the Bay of Jiquilisco, in the department of Usulután. In this center, our artisan group works on our crafts with natural products from the zone like seeds, wood, leather, shells, and gourds, showing with these materials the species that exists in the area. It’s worth mentioning that the mural that we have worked on is an important component of the center because it is a representation of the bay, the mangroves, and the biodiversity that exists within the bay.
For us it is important to share a wonderful experience like the painting of this beautiful mural, which reflects the protection and conservation of water, from which we obtain resources like crabs, shellfish, fish, shrimp, and other crustaceans for our daily sustenance. The bay that is reflected in the mural is the fountain of life for the people and species that live around it.