20-Jun-2006 -- 14N/90W is located in the Department of Jutiapa. Located at 124 Km from Guatemala city, this region is known as La Cuna del Sol or the Sun’s Cradle. Most of the volcanoes from the country are located here. They are inactive at the moment. This is one of the border towns with the country of El Salvador. The land produces onions, sweet bell peppers and also hot Jalapeño peppers; corn, rice, potatoes and bananas. About 40% of the locals raise cattle, giving way to lots of dairy products.
After visiting my father in-law’s home, we started on our way toward Jutiapa. The highways were in excellent condition, which made it easy to gain some time crossing the last leg of the day. We stopped in Jalpatagua to spend the night.
We ventured out, trying to find a place to eat dinner. We saw several policemen eating in an open door house. From past experience, “Wherever the policemen are eating, you can find a clean plate of food, at a moderate price”
They were very interested on what we were doing in this part of the world. We let them know about our intentions to take off for the Conguaco Valley, the next morning. One of them told us to be very careful, due to the fact that even INGUAT (Guatemalan Tourism Institute) has named this place “Hambruna” (Una hambre…). This is a very poor region. Its inhabitants are dealing with lots of unemployement and hunger. It will be better if we reported ourselves to the Police Station in the village of Conguaco, before we even started to venture any further into San Pedro.
This information made up for a good conversation theme before we finally went to sleep.
We arrived in Conguaco at about 8am. As instructed, we stopped at the Police Station. We left our car parked right in front of the station. We opted to ride in a local Micro-Bus and due to the Police Chief insistence, with two policemen detailed to protect us until we arrived to San Pedro. We bought some sweet bread to share with the children in the school of Palo Blanco (the next village, were the GPS was pointing at).
Once in San Pedro, we were turned over to the responsibility of the one man Police Sub Station Don David de Jesús Morales Monterroso. He was not so happy with this assignment; stating that we were taking him to the wolf’s den; were the bandits are…
Dennis said to him that he only wanted to go toward the first hill in the distance. The policeman proceeded to close the Sub Station and went into the neighbor’s house to tell her where we were headed to. From the house, he emerged with Emilso Lemus Arévalo, who came along with us.
The terrain was very inclined, filled with mud and cow patties. We had to pass through several farms’ barb wire fences; always trying to be kind to the corn and beans plants. If this people were so hungry, we needed to respect their efforts to grow some substanence staple foods.
After walking for about three hours, we came to a small house. We asked Don Ventura Gutierrez, the owner if we could come inside his house for a minute. His wife offered us some water that she had contained in an old oil plastic container. We could see a young girl carrying an infant girl in her arms. The little boys were naked. The confluence was located in their back yard.
We did not need to go into Palo Blanco (the most dangerous place), luckily for us, this confluence was not in there. We proceeded to leave the bread with Mrs. Gutierrez.
Our escort was very studious; compiling a small note about our excursion. He had lots of questions, in particular the one “Why do you do these confluences?” He diligently wrote the highlights and entered them in is report. In the end, he had a sense of accomplishment and also a savvy attitude about all the walking around we did.
While the escort probably wasn’t necessary it was a very kind gesture of them to accompany us.