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Showing posts from August, 2013

Partying Beyond Boundaries

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The quinceañeara celebration processed from the church to the community center.  There are no words to describe how unbelievably hot it was in that building.  It was like being in an oven, so hot that we could hardly breathe.  Yet spirits were high and so was the volume of the music!  Everyone posed for photos with everyone, and then it was time for the special dance.  We couldn't quite catch all of the words, but the song was a traditional quinceañera song, and all the belles of the ball with their escorts took to the floor.  This dance was rehearsed!  The girls twirled from boy to boy with their big skirts swishing and swaying -- it was like watching a Disney princess movie.

After the dance a series of tables were set up end to end and covered with white cloth.  It was time for the feast of chicken and rice and tortillas.  As we finished eating, a hip hop dance group from the community performed.  The photo-taking continued for a while and then families said their farewells and…

The Big Day

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The day for the anniversary celebration had arrived!  We arrived in the community before 7:30 AM so that our two quinceañera princesses could get their hair done by the expert fancy hair stylist in the community.  They spent a couple of hours getting their curled and sprayed up-do's and then changing into sparkly pink and poofy dresses.  All over the community, girls were donning their pink and pastel-colored dresses -- dresses which had attended proms and weddings ten, twenty or thirty years ago, dresses which had traveled to El Salvador a month before the celebration, dresses now expertly re-fashioned to turn excited teen girls into beautiful flowers.  As the girls giggled and fussed with their hair and dresses, teen boys polished their black school shoes and walked around nervously in black dress pants and white or pink button-down shirts.

Adults hovered around the church, adding finishing touches.  A few days earlier, the church had been dressed in a fresh coat of lilac paint,…

This is your Daily Bread

"This is your daily bread.  This is your daily bread."  There is a voice in my head, and these are the words.

Daily bread.  Give us this day our daily bread.  As people of faith, we pray this prayer every day, perhaps several times in a day.  We ask God to provide us with what we need to sustain us today -- shelter, clothing, food, and water.

As a person of privilege, I have never passed a day without having adequate shelter, clothing, food or water.  I have always been given daily bread.  Sometimes I marvel at God's creativity in providing daily bread.  I have upon occasion found myself without food, through my own fault in forgetting my lunch or not planning properly.  I work in communities where the struggle for daily bread is real, yet, in these communities, I am always fed.  Someone shares a sandwich, a piece of fruit, or a tamale.  An invitation is extended to a community meal made from reclaimed food.  "This is your daily bread."

We had been walking for…