Teosinte: Community and Place

Teosinte, El Salvador was decimated during El Salvador’s civil war which lasted from 1980 to 1992. The United States supported the war by arming, funding and training the Salvadoran military, to combat what they perceived as a Communist threat. Most of the people who now live in Teosinte (which is about three hours northwest of San Salvador by car) met at a refugee camp in Honduras during the war and agreed to return to El Salvador together, despite the ongoing danger. Eventually, others joined them as they sought to rebuild the town. Teosinte is unusual though in that not only did refugees and civilians return to Teosinte but former guerillas and military soldiers joined them. This unlikely group of what now comprises roughly fifty families have, over the past twenty years, managed to work together as a community to determine their own future.

In 1998, the town of Arlington, Massachusetts and Teosinte became sister cities through the National US-El Salvador Sister Cities Network. The relationship has grown over the years and now delegations from both towns visit each other to engage in a cultural exchange and to support each other through community involvement and support.

This project communicates the past (the history of Teosinte, the war, etc.), the present (how people live and work now; how they work to rebuild their sense of society after a conflict), and the future (the hopes and dreams that the people of Teosinte have for their town and their children). This project is on-going and will involve more visits to Teosinte to more fully realize the goal of a creating a deep and personal understanding and connection.

NOTE: All proceeds from the sale of prints and books related to this project will go to a fund to support scholarships for Teosinte students.