Tuesday, May 1st was “Dia Internacional de los Trabajadores” and also the graduation day for my friend Chata’s first level class in cosmetology schooling in Panchimalco, where they had a big FMLN style celebration. Everyone had the day off just about, and mid-afternoon I went to “Pancho” with my camera. Before the graduation ceremony began, they had live entertainment and some folk dancers.
Walking through the crowd, you can definitely get the feeling that Panchimalco is populated with a lot of modest, small town type of people, and there is big support for the FMLN party here.
Mario Melendez, the recently re-elected FMLN mayor, spoke during the graduation ceremony, and there were even a couple of women Diputados (deputies/senators) who came as guest speakers. I think the red party is doing serious PR work after the heavy losses by their candidates during the recent election. In fact, Sigfredo Reyes, the head of the legislative assembly, and FMLN party Deputy, came by our neighborhood to speak at the inauguration of our recently paved street. Talk about making the PR rounds, coming to our dinky neighborhood to celebrate the completion of just one street.
While walking through the crowd, I spotted this basket-o-chickens just outside of the market being cared for by a teenage girl. There’s an odd-shot every day in El Salvador
After all the song and dance, and requisite political speeches and blessing by the local reverend, the graduation ceremony began. My friend Chata and all of her other companions had been sitting under the tent, in their Sunday best, waiting for the moment to receive their graduation certificate and a handshake from Mayor Melendez. People were taking so many pictures afterwards they asked graduates to please sit down so the other speakers could make announcements.
Courses are being sponsored by the Panchimalco municipality for computation, cosmetology, sewing, pottery, and crafts of card-making and paper flower-arrangements. Daycare service is provided also. Sounds like a good program, and I even saw leaflets that were hung up on utility poles and placed in mailboxes. There were also a few graduates for a literacy program who stepped up the the stage to receive their diplomas.
Here is Chat with her diploma just after she received it. A big change from where she was just a year ago, selling tortillas in our neighborhood.