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Day 5 in El Salvador - Pollo Campero

(El Salvador Immersion) Permanent link   All Posts

Before heading out for our first trip to the countryside, we stop at Pollo Campero (your companion chicken!) and have lunch. It is a large KFC-like place with lots of fried food. There are lots of service staff in the place – I have noticed that many places, including the supermarket, have what we would consider an over abundance of help. But the Salvadorans are not looking for efficiency but rather full employment. In the supermarket, there were two people in every aisle ready to assist you!

Two U.S. soldiers walk in to Pollo Campero as we are leaving, startling many of us. I ask what they are doing in El Salvador, since U.S. army personnel have not been stationed in the country for years. They are support staff for a group of U.S. Special Forces that are competing in a ‘Pan-American’ competition. Evidently, many countries in the Americas have sent soldiers to this competition and this year it is being held for two weeks in June in El Salvador.

We take a 50 minute ride into the countryside where we meet Vladimir, the FMLN guerrilla we saw in the documentary Enemies of War. The bus stops on the road and we hike up a short way to the small adobe brick house Vladimir has built. He lives there with his children and grandchildren, his wife having passed away from cancer shortly after the documentary was filmed in 1994. He regales us with stories of when he had to go to the capital to get documents and pretending he was not a guerrilla. The time with Vladimir is all too brief – many of us feel that we could have stayed all day and into the evening listening to the stories he has to tell.

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