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The Legend of the Grandmother's Jug

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Many of the post-colonial legends from Tonacatepeque were created in order to teach lessons such as: don't go out at night alone, don't be unfaithful to your beloved, you can't hide misbehaviors from the church (or God), bad choices have consequences, etc. Some of the stories, like this one, share a little bit about history, a little bit about nature, and a little bit of humor. This is just one of several "buried treasure" tales which one might be told. Photograph taken at a temporary exhibit in the gallery at Parque Cuscatlán The Legend of the Grandmother's Jug In the olden days, it was customary to use a botija as a safe place in which to keep documents or treasures.  The botija  is like a traditional water jug (maybe shaped like an urn), but we could think of it as a pot, a jar, or any kind of container in which one could keep something. It was the custom of the generations which came before us, to keep any extra money not immediately needed in something l

The Legend of the Flirty Parrot

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We walked toward the edge of town. "What's the story about that old church?" I asked. The building looked nearly abandoned. "That is the Iglesia Catolica El Calvario.  They are working on the church, I think, but they still meet. This neighborhood is called El Calvario. When we walk to the edge of town, we say we are going to El Calvario . It's an expression we use because we say at the edge of every town, it is called El Calvario.  'We will meet you at Calvary' means we will meet you at the edge of town." There is a story from this neighborhood of Tonacatepeque, El Calvario. Like many of the legends from Tonaca, this one is meant to cause the listeners to think about their behavior. Thanks to Sonia and the women's group in Tonaca as well as author José María Melgar Callejas for this story. The Legend of the Flirty Parro t    In the outer corridor of a house in El Calvario, there was a bird cage, and inside the cage, there was a guest - a parrot

The Legend of the Bald Buzzard

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On an ordinary evening in Tonaca, in an ordinary and dimly lit room, the rhythmic words of an ordinary  story-teller may be heard - ordinary words weaving themselves together in an extraordinary tale. Tonacatepeque is known for its tales.  In multi-generation households, the elders still spin their stories into the imaginations of their grandchildren.  Although many families may not be sitting around lit candles and sharing spooky stories well into the evening, the town's cultural center works with the local schools, community radio station and the mayor's office to keep Tonaca's traditions alive. October begins with the Day of the Child, and in Tonaca, ends with the festival of la Calaviusa*. It seems the perfect month for sharing a few mysterious tales.  Stories passed on through oral tradition often have many versions, because each story teller incorporates not only what they have heard over the years, but also what they themselves have experienced.   After spending more

Just Click: Adiós Septiembre y Hola Octubre

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I clicked my way through September, still mostly seeing the sites in motion through the windows as the pandemic continues to impact gathering life, event life, celebration life. September is independence month, so I'll start off with a little tribute to Salvadoran blue and white : San Salvador, resting in the valley under a patriotic sky Getting ready for a big game outside Estadio Cuscatlán Car flags No need to pop into Metro Centro to get your shirts - just make your choice when traffic slows. Obviously a flag...maybe less obviously with wheels... ...and connected to a corn car... ...and now you see it's a train. This mural is one of several painted by the artist known as "El Indio". The murals are being made in conjunction with the  mayor's office in San Salvador to help the community to "recover its values." The idea is to tell stories which reach through time.   What images do you see in this mural? The stoplight at this corner only allows 2 or 3 ca

Mission of Healing 2021 Final Theme: Yoga and Reflexology Ideas for Stress Management

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It's been a stressful year. Everywhere. The impact of the pandemic on our circle of friends in El Salvador is particularly heavy this week:  several deaths from COVID, including a young youth group leader.; two suicides - young people struggling with depression. Even the most hopeful among us are feeling pretty down right now. We all just try to help where we can. We do what we are able to do.  We keep on keeping on. The church teams that are using the Mission of Healing materials this year tell us that the discussions are good. We often hear from the adults that they really love coloring because it helps them to destress.  As the year has progressed, we have actually tried to design the adult information pages so the illustrations can be colored during the presentation and discussion.  We decided to make the final workshop for the year a continuation of the focus on stress, with a bit of yoga and reflexology and some tips for managing stressful moments.  The Salvadoran Lutheran Ch

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