My HeyDay

Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful

Prologue to a Trip

I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it, because a man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. As André Gidé said, it is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves. And the personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself. The biggest of those truths lie deep inside ourselves, waiting to be revealed. Our own conscience, naked of prejudices and learned cliches...

We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character. Because Life is either a great adventure or nothing...

. . .

We have grown up in a world which was given to us as it is, and it's self-justifying, and it tries to force us to follow some rules and patterns, ensuring its own survival. But we know, very well, that are certain features, certain aspects, which go against our human nature, reducing our ability to bright, to be upright. And we may acknowledge as well that those things must be corrected through the slow but unstoppable transformation of this system, in order to make it more just and human-like.

Sometimes the contradictions of the system, as it happens in our present time, become very apparent. And these are those opportunity windows when the transformation is more possible than ever, because more people will be aware of the unfairness of the rules that domain us... but it is still our duty to help them to see what they always knew deep inside themselves: to see their own inner light.


Five Days to Go...

Despite the fact that I live at the gates of the most Salvadoran neighborhood in DC, and I'm supposed to be familiar with Latin American politics, the last name I could ever know would be the El Salvador president, Elías Antonio Saca González. As the country's resemblances with the 2001 Argentinean meltdown were becoming obvious, the guy recently tried to enact a tax reform that would increase tax pressure over corporations and the private sector, to end the traditional fiscal deficit of the Salvadoran state. As usual, the big corporations lobbied against the reform and forced the removal of the finance minister, thus blocking the tax reform.

Some day, my dissertation (supposedly) will explain why this sort of things happen all the time in Latin America, and why many countries, like El Salvador, end with a tax system based mainly in regressive sales taxes (60% of total taxation). This sort of policy equilibrium forces the working class and low-middle class to bear the lion's share of the tax burden, also neutralizing any real attempt of establishing real redistributive policies. And in the long run, the level of inequality gets crazy: 0.52 in the last UNDP report, one of the highest in the world. And there is a well established DUH!-like bulk of knowledge on why inequality is not just ethically wrong, but also happens to kill and to hinder human development. And if democracies don't correct those imbalances at some point, you don't have to wait too long to see bands of people with torches messing around. Or, as it is the case of El Salvador, joining the maras (gangs). The US deported exported more than 20.000 gang members from south Cali back to El Salvador, exacerbating the problems of a country already over-populated.

Anyway, I already plotted the route on the map (the good thing about planning trips is that you are never able to follow your own plans):

I officially love Google Earth
5 days to go...


Alex goes to the Tropics (again)...

In a week, I'll be landing in San Salvador for a month adventure. I am supposed to work in two projects for a small non-profit in San Salvador (El Salvador) and La Ceiba (Honduras). In between, I'll have to travel through both countries, stop in Tegucigalpa, meet the people from the Spanish official cooperation, flight to La Ceiba, work on the project, and visit the Islands of the Bay (aka Roatán) in the weekends. During my time in El Salvador, we'll design a project to build a school to train unemployed low-income women expelled from the Maquilas (sweat-shops), and in Honduras we'll write a proposal to gain funds for micro-lending to poor women who want to run their own business in order to sustain their families. It's amazing how women and their perseverance have been, so frequently, the mortar of survival in our societies.

As the departure day gets closer, this adventure it's increasingly enticing me for many reasons -a real opportunity to help and travel- but particularly cuz I'll be able to escape from DC, its dramas and people. I need to detox from this local culture of blind career-building, super-egos and unleashed ambitions, and reconnect with the simple things in life that should guide human dreams and humble ambitions. The proximity of others, the sense of doing the right thing, the relaxation of the Latin American soul, manifested everywhere in smiles, songs, hugs, tastes and their friendliness, and yes, the warm, warm sun.

So yes, I'm almost ready to go.

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