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Showing posts from January, 2013

In the Morning

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This is a continuation of the previous story, "In the Night"...

The morning started out with tamales for breakfast and the safe return of Julia's husband while we were at Sunday School.  Oh my there were a lot of kids in that small space - maybe 70 kids!  We all have our tricks, and so I pulled a favorite out of my hat:  I sang "Jesus Loves Me" in English (with hand motions), then the children sang it back to me in Spanish (with hand motions), and then we "sang" it using only the hand motions.  The look on Pastor Santiago's face said, "Hey, that worked!"  Yes it did.

After Sunday School we went to Bryan's house for a visit.  Bryan insisted.  I miss Bryan.  I remember him as a very charismatic and precocious 9-year-old.  He and his family moved away from the community because of gang threats to their family.  Bryan's older brother was murdered while working as a fare-taker on a micro-bus.  That happened a few years ago.  I imagine…

In the Night

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We waved good-bye.  My friends got on the bus that would take them back to San Salvador, back to the airport, back home to the US.  I was staying.  Sometimes I do this - stay in our sister church community for a while on my own.  Well, I am never really on my own...though at night, it sometimes feels that way.

After dinner, Julia and I sat and talked.  The hour grew late, and her husband had not come home. Recent elections had resulted in a change in the political party which controlled the local municipality, and as a worker affiliated with the losing party, he had lost his job.  After passing six long months with no work and selling off family belongings in order to get money for food, he was finally hired as a delivery truck driver.  This work took him far from home, delivering insulated roofing materials to construction sites.  When far from home after dark, it was safer to find shelter with a friend or to sleep in the truck rather than try to make his way home.  After dark, gangs…

Signs of Sustainability...Part 2

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The sun set as our little micro-bus headed inland from the mouth of the Rio Paz.  We opened the windows slightly to diffuse the scents of fresh fish and damp bodies which wafted through the vehicle.  We paused a couple of times to let members of our little group off near their homes.  Then we made our final visit for the day...
We stopped at Flor’s house to see the cosecha.  Flor had accompanied us throughout the day and was as eager to show us the fruits of her harvest as she had been to show us the construction of the levee.  The seeds for the crops were given by the government – wow, what awesome fields!  Since the light was low, we walked along the edges of densely planted fields of corn, maicillo, plantains, and squash.  The kids showed us their radish patch, pet turtle and pet parakeet.  
We stood for a while near the house, slapping mosquitoes as Flor told us about the night the river broke through the levee.  Her family was trapped when the flood water came and was suddenly wai…

Signs of Sustainability

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Three of us were guests in the community - a guy from Canada, a guy from Argentina and a gal from the US (that would be me).  We were there as part of an immersion experience during a gathering of international partners of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church - an event that happens every 3 years or so and is known simply as the Encuentro.  This was not my first visit to Cara Sucia, but it was the first time I had been there since the devastating storms of November 2011.  
I kept a journal during the visit, because I knew from the start that I wanted to remember the amazing women of this church community.  Our theme for the Encuentro was Sustainability - of the church, of the land, of the people.  We were to look for signs of sustainability throughout our immersion visits...
In the corner of the room, fruits of the earth had been carefully placed in a beautiful display...pineapple, watermelon, coconut, corn, banana.  A small altar stood in front of the display.  To the side, a bulletin boar…

Viva El Salvador

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The women were surprisingly sexy, waving and smiling as their Vegas-style head-pieces bobbed with each high-heeled step.  Their short skirts were set off by long trains which trailed behind them.  The band was decked out in traditional blue and white, sporting "sombrero azul" cowboy hats and shoulder-to-hip sashes which proudly said "El Salvador."  The musicians marched in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade, and for a few moments the streets of Pasadena were filled with shouts of Viva El Salvador.  The band was followed by about a dozen traditional dancers who were running more than dancing, but they still managed to wave their rainbow of large skirts like giant butterfly wings, and they smiled beautifully for the crowds in California and the television cameras which carried their music and images back home.

 It was a fun and fabulous moment for the band members who had worked so hard and traveled so far by bus to get to the parade.  As a former band parent, I cou…