San Salvador-El Salvador
“MARACHITO ANDAMMOS EN LA REBUSCA PARA NAVIDAD”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, companies began to lay off employees causing people to gradually lose their jobs. Many people have had to reinvent themselves in El Salvador, including this group of clowns who have found themselves, as they say, “de a palitos,” trying to survive with a little.
Before the virus arrived in our country, they were part of an association of clowns through which work abounded. The were an organized group working out of an office and this kept them busy. The clowns received opportunities to work in all types of events for schools, birthdays and other celebrations that kept clowns employed.
The pandemic changed things, and clowns have had to reinvent themselves.
Readapting their craft in a pandemic has not been easy. They have sought other means to perform their artistry, but most alternatives have not worked out.
They tried performing in public buses, but were not permitted on board for their protection due to the pandemic.
They attempted to perform in the parks and in theaters, but could not manage to survive.
Until things change, the only solution they have found as feasible, is to perform in street corners on the main streets and avenues of San Salvador.
And that’s what they have done. Always dressed in their suits and clowning around, the performers entertain drivers, who sometimes gift them a tip or some food.
“Behind the masks, we don’t know if to laugh or to cry,” commented Frijolito (little bean), the clown. Although government assistance has arrived, the clowns say it has not been enough.
“Today we have to rummage around to make Christmas happen for our children. If we have to ask, it is better than to steal,” said the smiling, Serrucho (saw) the clown.
The clowns can be found on the streets amusing motorists, and sometimes, carrying signs asking people for help.
The laughter artists are working on reinventing their craft, on trying to survive and getting ahead after the hard blow Salvadorans experienced because of the pandemic.
The country has mourned and experienced pain yet it has somehow managed to make progress as a safer Central American country for tourists.
Despite the adversity they continue to face, the Frijolitos clowns remain positive because Salvadorans have shown solidarity toward them, and as they say, “they prefer to ask and not steal.”
Mauricio Alexander Cáceres García is a Correspondent for Latina Republic focused on El Salvador and Latin America. He is a renowned Photojournalist and Documentarian from El Salvador. Migration is personal to him. His father and family moved to the United States as migrants. His work showcases the power of human stories. Among his specializations, Cáceres has reported on “The migrant route” of the Guatemalan border, Mexico and the United States. He personally completed the migrant route to the US on four occasions. Cáceres has a degree in Migration from the Universidad de Centro América, UCA. Cáceres has served as an Editor of the newspaper Más, EDH and elsalvador.com. He has extensive experience in national and international news coverage, studied journalism has won several photography awards throughout Latin America, including second place on a photographic contest centered on the migrant woman, and earning the Santa Clara de Asís prize for his report on the migrant route.