Erika Blumenfeld is a highly talented photojournalist who traveled in early February to El Salvador with her partner and fellow journalist, Dahr Jamail, to report on the social movements happening in Bay of Jiquilisco area. She sent us the following note a few days after she returned. It beautifully captures the depth of feeling that so many participants in our Community Empowerment Tours express (and we on staff also share!) about what it is like to spend time in our partner communities.
I awoke this morning lingering over thoughts of warm sunlight refracting through fresh dust kicked up from the passing of a local herd of cows, and the symphonic cacophony of the neighborhood roosters that ushered in each day. I thought of the steam rising from the hand-pressed fresh tortilla that was just added to the perfectly round stack, and the deliciousness of beans and eggs and avocado and fresh farm cheese in the morning. I thought of Cristina’s smile, Mario’s laugh, and the warmth and enthusiasm that was part of every meeting and conversation with the members of the communities and organizations we visited. Finally, I thought of the view from the Bay, from the majestic volcanic mountains to the open ocean. It seems, however, that what touched my heart most profoundly during my experience in El Salvador cannot be put into words easily–the depth, beauty and strength of the people we met will live within me always. Thank you, deeply, for the opportunity to go to the Lower Lempa–it is one of the most special places on this earth. It has taken these days of being home, I believe, to fully absorb the experience and to understand how rare and powerful the people are. Their vision and commitment has restored my faith in humanity.