Central America, Spring ^10

March 16, 2010

Centro Arte para la Paz, Suchitoto

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 12:39 am

This weekend I was in Suchitoto, a smaller city about an hour from San Salvador. This city is known for the arts and restored colonial architecture. It reminded me a little of Antigua in Guatemala but with much less tourists and more artists.

Friday night was really interesting because the group Pioneers of Prosperity was awarding entrepeneurs in the city with large grants to expand their businesses. This organization focuses on small to medium business firms that have potential to increase growth and prosperity in their countries. They award entrepeneurs up to $100,000 for investment in infrastructure and training, and provide guidance for development. They work with countries in Central America, the Caribbean and Africa.

It was a really big deal in Suchitoto friday because they had the final awards ceremony there. Ten finalists won a grant from the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) of $40,000, and they are now competing for one grant of $100,000. The ceremony was in the largest theater in the city, and they had it temporarily air-conditioned. The city looked beautiful and was all lit up with lights and candles. They had women dressed in fairy costumes walking around the streets handing out flyers and flowers. And there were fireworks at night!

My Liberation Theology professor opened the Centro Arte para la Paz in 2005, a community arts center for creative education, building a culture of peace, environmental awareness and gender equality. The center is in an old Convent that was abandoned during the civil war. There were bats flying around everywhere – neat! My professor lived in a small community outside the city during the violence, and now lives in the city. The center now has community workshops and seminars, and small museum, a library, space for theater, garden and hostel for delegations and international volunteers. There’s a ton of computers and art supplies, and they have classes on digital photography, painting, etc. There was also a delegation of students from Norway at the center for the weekend, we got to chat a bit.

On Sunday I went horseback riding up a mountain. It was really fun but also scary sometimes when the other horses made noises and then my horse made noises and I thought they would attack each other. But we made it! We passed lots of wild horses and cows and bulls too.

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