One of my favorite things about the holidays is the intentional time set apart to reflect on the many things we have to be thankful for. Call me cheesy, but I can never get enough of the opportunity to sit around with the people I love, naming out loud all of the good things in our lives. How many other times during the year do we take the time to do that?
As the end of this year approaches, I find myself thinking more and more of all of the things that I am thankful for here in the Bajo Lempa. Along with sharing them with my family and friends in the United States, I also wanted to share them with you, my EcoViva family.
First and foremost, I am thankful for the people I have met.
-The employees of the Mangrove Association who put in countless hours both in the office and in the field, never seeming to tire but rather being energized by the communities and the new initiatives. The same people who gave me such a warm welcome when I arrived, answering all of my questions and teaching me the ins and outs of community organization.
-The community members who after spending hours fishing or farming in the hot sun take a break in their hard work to attend community meetings. The campesinos who may not have finished more than the first grade in formal education but who sit down and teach me about the history of the region and engage me in stimulating conversations about environmental sustainability and organic farming.
-My host family who has welcomed me into their home and their lives, always caring for me and giving me a place to come back to after a long day of work, where I feel comfortable and at home.
-The many donors who enable me to do this work in the Bajo Lempa, through their support for EcoViva.
I am also thankful for the beauty that surrounds me.
-The mangroves that stretch as far as the eye can see out in the Bay of Jiquilisco, that provide
protection to both the communities and the many species that live there and the community members and wetlands rangers, who work day in and day out to preserve and restore them.
-The birds that flock in the mango trees- that sing me to sleep and wake me up in the morning.
-The Bay of Jiquilisco with the powerful waves pounding at the mouth of the bay and the calm that permeates throughout, as the birds soar overhead and the fishermen and women wait for their catch.
I am thankful for the 6 months I have been here, and the 5 months I still have ahead of me. I am thankful for the opportunity to continuing learning from my co-workers and friends, from the wetland rangers, the fishermen and women, the cooperatives, and everyone else who has touched my life in the last few months, everyone else who has taught me more and given me more than I could possibly give back. This holiday season, as I sit down and talk to my host family about my own family’s traditions, I will give thanks to all of the hard work here in El Salvador and back in the United States, to the community organization and strong social movement that I have had the opportunity to witness and be a part of.
Special year-end note: Support for our work comes mainly from individual donations. Consider helping us reach our year-end goals by making a donation today. Process a donation online or by mail at: EcoViva, 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 902, Oakland, CA 94612. Thank you!