El Mozote and the Waterfalls

hotelI haven’t slept this well in a while. Not waking up at 5:40am to go running might be behind all this! Nothing is better than a good night’s rest, a perfectly chilled room, a firm mattress, and a good shower. Too bad the internet didn’t live up to the high quality of everything else at our hotel. For breakfast we had frijoles, huevos, jugo de naranja, y fruta—plus a cup of coffee (it didn’t live up to the delicious coffee served at my host-mom’s house though!). The plan for today: meet up with Max, go on a 20minute hike to a waterfall, go swimming, eat lunch with another PeaceCorp Volunteer and then go visit the El Mozote Memorial.

The drive was pretty bumpy. The roads were definitely not paved most of the way and a few times I was afraid we would either get stuck in a pothole or get a flat tire. Close to the camp site where we were later going to eat lunch, we had to park our microbuses because we almost got stuck on the uneven road. Sadly our drivers Lolo and Ricardo had to stay behind to keep an eye on the buses while we walked down to the camp site, met Shelby (Max’s friend and fellow PeaceCorp volunteer), and went on our hike. This was the day I had been waiting for—a day out in nature, hiking cross country, wading through water, crawling through barbwire fences, along rocky ledges, and up steep hills. We were rewarded by the cold pool waiting for us underneath a spectacular waterfall. No time was wasted to fold our clothes, instead most everyone jumped in the cold water to cool off. A few of us had a great time jumping off the rocks down into the pool. What an amazing day!!!

waterfall River

We had lunch back at the camp and left after an hour for El Mozote. El Mozote in Morazán is the most famous memorial of the terrible massacres that took place during the war. El Mozote is the most famous not because of the body count (around 900), but because there was a witness. Rufina Amaya Mírquez. On December 10th, 1981, the refugees and people of Morazán were ordered to the central park where they were divided into groups: men, women, adolescents and kids. Then the executions began—the last to die were a few adults and all the children who were locked up in the church, fired upon through the windows and then the building was set ablaze. Rufina had been hiding in a tree and was the only survivor who then brought the story to the attention of the international media. During the first Team El Salvador Trip in 2007, Adele Negro (our faculty member and interpreter) arranged for the trip members to meet Rufina and to hear her story. I learned from Adele that she was responsible for interpreting what Rufina had to say—which was both fascinating and very emotionally strenuous. Unfortunately, Rufina died in 2007, thus her story was told by the memorial itself and a guide at the site.

El Mozote


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