Jun 20, 2020
by Leonor de Castellanos

Before and After

There is always a before and an after. Before and after Christ, before and after the world wars…. After the Twin Towers, security protocol was initiated like never before, and now, we must again discover a new history.

What will happen after the pandemic?

The “after” of the pandemic has yet to be written, and although there is only speculation about new security protocols, among many other ideas, we are certain that life will change course for everyone. We hope this will truly happen, and for the better.

We are living in a time of strong sociological and ecological impact, and every person must come out of quarantine conscious of and having internalized the fact that Tonantzin wanted to teach us a lesson (Tonantzin is a Nahuatl word that means Our Sacred Mother, The Earth).

In a short time, she showed us that she does not need human beings and that by dispensing with us, the ozone layer recovered. Animals came out without fear of flying through the skies, wandering the earth, and swimming through the waters with great freedom—all places that were previously invaded by the human species.

The air has become cleaner. We can breathe in the fresh air and smell the dew in the morning. Many people have recovered lost time with their families, or the time to pray that they could not find before….

Tonantzin forgives us because she is noble, and despite the fact that we have destroyed plants, rivers, lakes, forests, and animals, she once again gives us another opportunity so that, intelligently, we can make use of her creation with all of its resources. However, she does ask that we do this with respect and good sense.

We have caused wars and death due to our ambition. We have been egotistical, and we have become angry with our brothers and sisters because they do not think the same way we do, but now it is time to put ourselves in each other’s place and cooperate with those who know the least and the most, those who possess the least and the most, and those who do not know the way. However, this is not only about economics. Those who have the least can teach us to love and respect Tonantzin, and those who have the most can teach us to cultivate the earth. Those who have no roof over their heads can show us the stars, and those with a little more can teach us to participate in the basic economy in order to build the house.

What matters is to build and build...and recover what was lost.

We are not to build and recover life as we have lived it until now, but rather do so with humility, empathy, and generosity, without laying waste to and destroying everything as we go. This change in behavior would achieve the miracle of adding a few more years to the life of our planet.

It is time to make alliances with different realities and hold hands to design a new world, together. It is a question of adaptation, and only the most apt will survive this great challenge, as we do not know the changes we will face. The most important alliance is with Tonantzin, so that our planet, our home, can provide a better future for every living being as we cooperate with each other, thereby discovering what is essential and once again recognizing and practicing the “ancestral knowledge.”

The economy is the most concerning issue for many people. Therefore, every country should put the pieces back in their corresponding places, achieving a more just order for everyone, and thus creating better citizens. In our case, better Salvadorans for the Salvadorans. Honest, respectful, supportive, and smiling Salvadorans, with bonds of understanding and open to dialogue.

Yet… how are we going to recover from the economic crisis? Coming from the tourism sphere, I think that it will be from the inside out. Each space, region, or destination should prepare itself to offer, with love and pride, what it has and what it is. They must offer the best experience to visitors, because the daily life of a person or community is a different and exciting experience for every visitor that arrives. The sites and locales should be authentic and offer the best of themselves, the best service, and the best attention.

After recovering from fear and the economic crisis, today’s tourists will be Salvadorans who wish to go out and truly “know” the world surrounding them, and will aspire to be part of its salvation. Although they have been in those places before, they will now see them through different eyes. It will be some time before the region dares to go outside its borders, and the possibility of receiving tourists from other places is even more distant. In the meantime, we must innovate and prepare ourselves for that moment, because the tourist industry is the market that can lift a country, in any location and from any point of view.

All dark moments have their own sunrise, and for El Salvador, the sunrises of brilliant lights and colors are those that always remain, following a long experience of loss. A crisis always brings great opportunities, and we will discover them together, with wisdom and serenity.