made their homes in cemeteries. Far from feeling scared, for many, the graveyard is a refuge from the high levels of violence and crime in the country. As cemeteries are considered sacred by even the most depraved criminals, living in one can give one an overwhelming sense of peace.
El Salvador has 6 million inhabitants. It is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. The current housing shortage affects nearly a million families and has pushed people to extremes. But these extremes are not always unpleasant.
Children play hide and seek among tombstones, housewives gossip over newly dug graves, and those taking a lunchbreak sit and chat with the dead who have become part of their lives.
This same scene is played out in many of the cemeteries of El Salvador, where pre-Hispanic traditions of quiet respect for mortality has created a peaceful coexistence between the living and the dead.