© 2013 Brittany Avila

Chungo and the Division of Land in Ciudad Romero

January 11, 2013


This morning we went to visit the Chungo’s farm. He is one of the prominent members of the community and also the host dad to four of the Team El Salvador girls. He talked to us a little about the history of the community. I’d already learned from my own host mom Marcelina that the people of Ciudad Romero came together when they escaped the country during the civil war. They first went to Honduras before being moved to Panama, where they spent ten years of their lives. When they came back to El Salvador, they had to take the land they now live on. It was a strenuous process of negotiating with the government of their country, but in the end, they prevailed. Five engineers and 15 helpers from the European Union arrived in Ciudad Romero to help divide the land between the 249 adults eighteen years old and up. Chungo acted as supervisor over the project. The idea was rather simple. The land was surveyed and divided into 249 equal parcels of about 2.5 manzanas each (what I understand to be about 2500 meters squared). They numbered each plot and held a raffle. Whatever number you drew was the parcel number that corresponded to you. This parcel was yours, so if you wanted to work the land, let it sit idly, or sell it, the choice was yours. The community agreed to work together to keep families together, so they traded their parcels so that their family members’ land was all together. I am awestruck by how simple and beautifully this all seemed to have worked out. It gives me a whole new respect for the people in Ciudad Romero.


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