San Salvador – Sonsonate part 1

About a year ago I was involved for 6 months on a project that required me to commute around 140km a day from San Salvador to the city of Sonsonate. Around that time I also bought my first “serious” camera, a Canon XS.

The department of Sonsotate was the enclave of the Pipiles, the natives that originally populated El Salvador. Said region was the heart of their territory Cuzcatlan and the silent witness of the massacres of its sons, first in 1524 when the territory was conquered by the Spanish empire and later in 1932 when they were practically exterminated.

During those 6 months I tried somehow to document the scenes of daily live nearby the road: the brick furnaces, the sugar cane fields, the small cities, the people’s activities…

On of the things that has always caught my attention is the public transportation in the rural areas. In the inaccessible places is non-existent, people walk miles to get to the main road where they can catch a bus or a small truck. The public transportation is in private hands that dismiss quality and safety over quantity. Hundreds of accidents occur every year. The need of transportation is bigger than the fear that something may happen to the truck or bus.

 

Some people say this is a common problem in developing countries, that is normal to have senators that own fleets of these buses and trucks, that is OK to condone the more than $17,000 in fines that a single bus driver had accrued, that is OK to let him keep on driving the bus.

The Government claims it does not have the money to take over the public transportation system or the political will to even amend it. The transportation owner keep increasing its income without investing in the proper maintenance of their units.

Bus looses its rear wheels in the middle of the street. Truck crashes due to malfunctioning brakes. Bus gets out of the road and crashes with a tree, 20 passengers died, intoxicated bus driver flees from the scene.

In the meantime people still needs to move, needs to communicate, needs to get to their works, needs to sell their goods, to buy other goods, to get to school, to get back home.

More images in my portfolio and in flickr

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