Pre-Trip Reading: History of El Salvador

Students going to El Salvador have been assigned a handful of books to read before the trip and after the trip, each requiring a brief written reaction piece. Here’s one of mine:

History of El Salvador by Christopher M. White

Of all the assigned books for this trip, this may end up being the one I take with me for practical reasons. First, it’s full of context, both historical and present-day, which will likely serve as handy for reference purposes as we travel to specific locations or learn of specific events. Second, the six-page term glossary and nine-page topical index will indeed be helpful, for I not only do not speak Spanish but sometimes find it difficult to keep track of new acronyms and terms. Finally, as I wonder about what we’re going to learn, trying to anticipate how best to be prepared, this collection of information gives the widest birth of information compared to other books we’re reading for the trip.

I admit, I was a bit nervous reading the first chapter about El Salvador today, particularly the paragraphs on tourism. They mention how often tourists get robbed (often) and how guerillas are still prominent in public and some people even carry unconcealed weapons in public. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this, save hunting rifles slung into the gun racks of pick-up trucks in Wyoming. I’m doing my best to be positive regarding safety issues and know if we watch out for each other and I keep my wits about me, there shouldn’t be (m)any problems.

Read more