Joseph grew up in Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California, studying religion and doing interfaith organizing and activism (and ballroom dance in his free time). Two years ago, he moved to El Salvador to work for Cristosal's Global School of Human Rights, and he's been here ever since. When he's not working on human rights education, he goes salsa dancing on the weekend, takes theology classes at the Universidad Centroamérica and hangs out with his cat Lily at home.
While in Belize, I went on a tour of a cave that had been the site of ancient Mayan human sacrifices, Actun Tunichil Muknal, or "Cave of the Crystal Maiden." After hiking to the mouth of the cave, we had to swim through the flooded entrance, scramble through the twisting tunnels and scale the wall climbing up to the main chamber. It felt like something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.
Finally, at the end of a long, tight passage, we came across "the Crystal Maiden" herself: a skeleton that had been preserved by sparkling mineral deposits coating the bones. The shadowy illumination of our flashlights reflected off the scintillating minerals in an eerily beautiful way.
Throughout the trip, our guide shared with us the fascinating yet sparse information we know about the ancient culture that would ritually kill not only people, but any object (ceramics bowls, statues, etc.). Seeing the physical location and learning the little known about this mysterious place was enthralling.