May 02, 2007

San Salvador, City of Lights, City of Dreams!!!

On Saturday, I'm off to El Salvador for 5 weeks. What will I be doing there? I'm going there to do work for my dissertation, mostly conduct interviews on my topic with political leaders. I'm also going to an intense language immersion school. I will be living in a home with a family in the capital city of San Salvador, and attending at least four hours of Spanish class per day.

I'm excited and nervous about it. I'm excited I will finally learn some practical Spanish, and going to another country is always an adventure. I'm nervous because, in my infinite wisdom, I have picked what is arguably the most dangerous country in the Western hemisphere. El Salvador is rife with organized crime on a higher level, and gang crime and violence on a lower level. All those illegal El Salvadoran immigrants that were involved in US gangs that we deported in the late 80s went back to El Salvador and established the gangs there. The MS-13 is probably the most notorious gang, with significant membership in both the US and El Salvador. The city is full of petty and violent crime. I've been warned not to bring anything with me that I couldn't afford to lose, as there is a greater likelihood that I will be held up if I look like I have anything of value on me.

Why did I pick El Salvador? I wanted to go to a cheap language school, which many Central American countries have (I have a friend attending school in a rural area of Guatemala right now) but also I wanted to be near the people I needed to interview, and being in a capital city was the best bet for that.

So, that's the long and short of it. I will be arriving back in the States on June 9th where I will start the drive toward finishing off this dissertation once and for all.

I will try to post on this blog once in a while from down there. I have heard that there are Internet cafes where I can get online, so I will do my best to let you all know that I'm alive and well. In the mean time, if any of you want to contact Megan, feel free. She'll be a little lonely!

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Blogger Mary B. said...

Be careful on your adventure, Mike. Good luck and best wishes!

11:18 AM  

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