The next day was a bank holiday and we couldn't really try to meet with an NGOs so we just explored the city and had a look at the typical sights and of course spent some time at the pool. On the Friday, we had to try to meet with the NGOs we wanted to see since we didn’t want to have to stay until the Monday
. We went to the tourist office to ask, they sent us to the city hall, which in their turn gave us the addresses for the SOS Children Village and an organisation called New Haven. We really wanted to try to see the SOS Children Village since it is a worldwide international organisation and we didn’t even know they were in León. We got a taxi straight to where they were located. Firstly they told us to come back on Monday, but insisting a little we got to meet with Aura and another lady. They told us a little about the Children Village and the projects they have. For them it was suitable to start at the end of January. We decided we would send our CVs so she could know about more about what we have done before and then she would get back to us. From there we went straight to New Haven, they are supporting a village about 13kms outside León. The inhabitants were originally living elsewhere but their village was destroyed by an earthquake and they had to relocate. Through a sister project with New Haven in the USA they set up this organisation to help them and support them with education for the children. About 20 men dies every year just from illnesses related to their work. Their nearly only income is from working in the corn fields however the pesticides they use and really dangerous for the health and also the heat of the sun and lack of food and water. The organisation tries to educate the parents about the importance of education so that the children won’t end up as their fathers, working long hours in the corn fields
. For them it was also suitable that we would start in the end of January, we promised to keep in touch.
The Saturday Paula and Franco had booked a bus to take them to Guatemala City, a 20 hour bus journey, but they needed to go ahead if they wanted to see Guatemala before heading home. Since Barcelona and Madrid was playing in the afternoon there was no way I could get Ramón to travel so we stayed another night and watched the game in a bar with a group of people from the hostel. The next day we had a long journey!
We got an early start on the Sunday, we had to try to make it to San Salvador by ourselves. There is also the comfortable option of going with Ticabus but it is much more expensive and it was full anyway. So we set off, first with a bus to Chinandega, where we changed for a bus to Guasaule, where we crossed the border by foot. From Guasaule in Honduras we had to get a minibus directly to the El Salvador border, it took about two hours to get to the El Amatillo border crossing. Everything went really smoothly and it was really easy finding the buses. As we entered El Salvador one thing stood out immediately, the people were lovely!! Everybody wanted to help, but in a very genuine way and not trying to fool you or mislead you as can happen in some places. So far the nicest people in Central America! We crossed the border without hassle and got on a bus for San Miguel, unfortunately we missed the last bus to San Salvador by about 5 minutes and had to sleep in San Miguel. It was no problem since we got a lovely little hotel, Don Julio, and could walk to a shopping centre for some dinner. In a way it was nice to be back to a place with some fast food and we managed to get something else than fried chicken, rice and beans for once.
So we arrived to a very festive León, we already had a hostel booked, Lazy bones. We had booked a dorm for the four of us but when we arrived they had two doubles available for very little less so we took those instead. The hostel was really nice, an old colonial house with a small pool in the courtyard. We just dropped the bags and headed out to see what was going on and have some food. The town centre was packed with people and there were food stalls everywhere, we walked around the main square, had a look at the cathedral where they were displaying Virgin Mary all done up in the entrance. While walking around we found Hannah and James from the Cartagena to Panama sailing which was nice.