Wetenschap - 8 februari 2001

Jam session for El Salvador

Jam session for El Salvador

The International Student Organisation Wageningen (ISOW) organised a party last Saturday. The proceeds will go to victims of the recent earthquake in El Salvador.

Hugo Molina comes from the capital, San Salvador, and is now studying biotechnology in Wageningen. Although nobody he knew died in the earthquake, he feels powerless here on the other side of the world. Also, there are no other people from El Salvador in Wageningen with whom he can talk. That's how ISOW came up with the idea of organising an event to draw attention to the disaster. Beatriz Torres, of the ISOW committee: "We wanted to show that it really is another world over there, and it is a good moment to be able to share feelings." Torres comes from Mexico and was affected by the news of the earthquake. "In Central and South America the borders between countries are not as marked as they are here in Europe. We have so much in common that we share many feelings with each other."

Success

The party started with a global meal, with dishes from different countries. This was followed by a jam session open to the public, which according to Torres was a great success: many people performed, and the music varied from pop to African drumming and traditional Greek music. Later on all the musicians also played together. "It felt good that so many people joined and played music," says Molina. The evening ended with a disco where Molina was disc jockey.

Information on the earthquake and the country of El Salvador was also displayed in the ISOW building. El Salvador is a poor country. Half of the population lives under the poverty line and unemployment is high. The country has suffered a lot in the last twenty years, from civil war and natural disasters. Three years ago it was hit by hurricane Mitch. This year on 13 January a large part of the country was devastated by the earthquake, in which more than 500 people died. According to Molina there is hardly any urban planning in El Salvador; everyone just builds wherever they can, even where it is dangerous to do so. That is why so many buildings were destroyed. He predicts that the effects of the earthquake will be felt for a long time to come in the form of economic and environmental problems. "In El Salvador you can still see the effects of the 1986 earthquake. There is not enough money to rebuild everything."

Attention

About 200 people came to the party on Saturday and the amount raised was 900 guilders. Torres: "That it's a relatively small amount doesn't matter. What's more important is to draw people's attention to the situation." The money will go to the Municipality of Santa Tecla. This is one of the worst hit areas, because of the mudslide which covered so many houses. "There is a left-wing council there, which makes me more confident that the money will end up in the right place," says Molina. Is ISOW thinking of organising something similar for victims of the earthquake in India? Torres: "That is possible, if Indian students are willing to help."

Suzanne Lommen

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