Llano Grande's residents—thirty-five families, many composed of various generations—are among the many rural families that live in extreme poverty in El Salvador. People have lived in tin and clay shacks since arriving to the community, some ten years ago, waiting for land titles to apply for housing projects. When it rains, they and all their belongings get wet, and when it doesn't, their homes are converted into ovens. After the Ida rains last November, the bean crop was largely destroyed and corn rotted.
The community has no electricity, no health clinic, no community center, no school and no corn mill. In the community, there is “no paid work, there is no development, especially for women, and we're responsible for providing for and caring for children,” according to one of the many women in the women's committee I was able to meet with. From Llano Grande, it is a twenty to thirty minute walk down the dusty, unpaved road to the main street. From there, it is another hour's walk to Tecoluca, where the nearest health clinic is located. A grassroots organizatin in the region had offered a high school scholarship to a young person in this community, but the only high school age youth had already stopped studying. Because of the distance to the nearest school—an hour-long walk—many children make it to the sixth grade, at the most. At our late-morning meeting, the time that children should be entering the last class of the day, a handful of young, school-aged girls were present.