During the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, El Salvador was engaged in a brutal civil war between the government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Thousands and thousands of people died at the hands of both groups. Peace accords were signed in 1992, but the effects of the war can still be seen today in El Salvador.
Perquín, El Salvador, in the department of Morazán, was one of many war zones and a stronghold for the guerilla forces. This rural area is still trying to recover from the serious damage that war caused. Now, Perquin is home to El Museo de la Revolución or, The Revolution Museum. Last month, our children had the opportunity to visit the museum and learn a bit about the history of their country.
The bridges pictured below crossed a river and were used by the guerillas to train. The river is now dry, but the Love & Hope kids had fun trying to cross the bridges anyway.
The boys were very interested in this bunker where the guerillas hid during battle. The bunker is about two meters deep and its occupants used a rope to climb in and out.
This is an example of a cot used to aid wounded fighters. Since supplies were limited, the guerillas had to improvise, using car parts to administer medicine and IV fluid.
Below, the Love & Hope kids are playing with radio transmitters that the guerilla forces used to communicate. The Salvadoran army had destroyed the radio towers necessary for using the radio in a traditional manner, but the guerillas found that barbed wire could be just as effective. The campesinos, or peasants, living in the countryside had all of their land enclosed with barbed wire fences. The guerillas took advantage of this, forming a huge radio network. Anyone who wanted or needed to listen to their signal only had to connect in to the barbed wire. Behind the radio transmitters on the wall, are cardboard egg cartons that the guerillas used for sound insulation.
The guerillas destroyed an army airplane and kept the wing pictured below as a trophy.
Tia Yessenia and a couple of the boys read about an arm that threw grenades.
The picture below shows a place known simply to the guerillas as El Palo de Mango, or the Mango Tree. Every night at 10:00pm, the commanders would meet to make a strategy for the next day. This meeting place was ideal because the tree camouflaged the men completely from the sight of military planes flying overhead.
It was a long ride (four hours!), to and from the museum, but the Love & Hope kids learned a lot. When asked what she learned, Linda said, “The women lost their rights. They kidnapped them and some women disappeared. I liked that the women had the strength to struggle and fight.”
Jocelyn said, “The worst thing was that women, young people and children had to go to war.”
When asked what their favorite part of the museum was, the boys all cited the weapons. Antonio said, “Seeing the guns. Some were bazookas. I saw airplanes.”
Mandy said, “I liked to see the excitement on the kids faces as they ran around looking at all the things in the museum, especially Herberth. He touched and examined everything and explained to Eliseo exactly what the bombs, machines and guns were used for.”
El Salvador has a rich, though oftentimes dark, history. One of our goals at Love & Hope Children’s Home is to raise leaders who desire to make a positive impact on their country; discovering history first hand aids in reaching that goal.