The scenario inside the shelter, which by the way, was the local primary and middleschool, was the same as in the town of Alotenango. Victims of the eruption, volunteers and relief workers alike were coming and going, carrying donated food, clothing, toys and cleaning supplies. They worked together reorganizing the school’s classrooms into sleeping quarters for the victims. As many as 20 mattresses were crammed into the classrooms, looking to fit as many people as possible. Meanwhile, the children innocently played in the soccer court, oblivious of the reality they were living.

Volunteers where everywhere. The food for the 400 victims was being cooked by a group of 6 ladies in a small kitchen, 3m by 3m at most. They were hard at work, both cooking and managing the incoming donations of tamales, “dobladas”, noodles, beans, eggs, coffee and maize drink. They voluntarily set out to help by feeding the victims and volunteers, looking to erase the bitter taste of ash, sand and grief from their mouths.