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Vamos a la Playa

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Each delegation group has its own vibe and inevitably its own inside jokes.  I don't remember exactly how "vamos a la playa" (we go to the beach) became a saying, but it did. And not only for one group.  It's a phrase that stuck. Here's how to use it: When everyone is sick of riding in the bus...vamos a la playa When we have been working really hard for days (like on a Mission of Healing)...vamos a la playa It's hot...vamos a la playa What are we doing today? ... vamos a la playa I'm crabby...vamos a la playa I lost my itinerary...vamos a la playa While waiting for that last person who is always late...vamos a la playa Go to the beach can be the answer to every question, and the remedy for every annoyance.   Did you know that September 1st is World Beach Day?  ¡Vamos a la playa! No, really it is.  And today, September 18th, is World Clean-Up Day. What should we do today? Vamos a la playa. Actually, we went to the beach today because it is fun, and we could

Little Ones Celebrate El Salvador's Bicentennial

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On September 15, 2021, El Salvador celebrated the 200th anniversary of Central America's independence from Spain. The day brought fireworks in the early morning and small celebrations in town squares. Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, parades and pomp and pageantry were scaled back. School children did not march through the streets carrying flags or twirling batons to the accompaniment of marching bands.  In defiance of pandemic protocols, large groups of protestors did march in defense of water protection, defense of women's rights and in opposition to Bitcoin (recently made an official currency in El Salvador), but that is another story. Celebration on September 15, 2021 in Tonacatepeque Photo credit:  Radio Comunitaria Tonaca This story about a fiesta with little ones began on September 1st, when the teacher and the parents of the church preschool in Los Héroes got together and decided to plan a small bicentennial celebration.  They wanted to honor the annual traditi

Let's Go for a Walk

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Sometimes, on sunny Saturday mornings, we walk.  We are fortunate. We can walk to work, but we don't have to. We have time to walk leisurely or as exercise. We live near places where it is safe to walk. We do not need to walk to find and carry water. We have shoes.  Walking in a place lets you hear the sounds, smell the smells, notice small things and feel the vibes.  Have I ever felt creepy vibes and needed to pick up my pace?  Well, sure, but that doesn't only happen in El Salvador. As is true anywhere in the world, if you are a stranger exploring an unfamiliar route, you procede with wisdom and advice from local friends. On this fine Saturday morning, let's go for a walk. "Don't worry, I'll catch up."  I say that a lot.  Why? Because, sometimes a pink flower against the blue sombrero sky of El Salvador catches my eye. And razor wire. And power lines. You can learn a lot about El Salvador from one random photo. We walk along many walls.  Fear hides behin

Mission of Healing 2021: The August Theme is Stress and Good Sleep

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Quick review:  the pandemic forced us to cancel the annual Mission of Healing family wellness fairs, which we usually hold each February in coordination with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church.  We came up with a plan to produce a year-long series of educational videos with accompanying print materials for small groups to use in local churches or families to use at home.  In late 2020, we never imagined that the pandemic would last well into 2021, nor that it would continue to critically impact so much of what we think of as "normal life" so many months after vaccines were developed and available.  In July, along with the curriculum for studying the respiratory system, we included more resources about COVID-19 and how to diminish its transmission. We will do this again in October. So, what is the COVID-19 situation in El Salvador?  The government continues to vaccinate people at a good rate (about 77,000 per day) and the percentage of the total population which has received at le

Just Click: We Still Don't Get Out Much

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In El Salvador, perhaps like wherever we may be, the pandemic still impacts our decisions about gathering in one place or another.  During our recent brief time in El Salvador, we mostly stayed home.  No large group gatherings are permitted.  Eating outdoors still seemed fairly safe, so we met up with a friend here or there.  Worship in a mostly open-air setting seemed on the edge of safe.   As we drove around a bit in San Salvador and from home to church, a few things caught my eye.  So, while most visits to El Salvador remain virtual, here are a few images taken from my car window which might trigger a memory or just make you chuckle. These typically white trucks can maneuver in traffic, park in teeny spots,  and carry pretty heavy loads.  Looks like this little guy has had his share of road adventures. The other way to move things is like this. The clouds were moving in, but luckily they dropped just a few sprinkles.  Unluckily, when the truck took this left turn, a plastic bin of w