Showing posts from July, 2010

Just Clicking Kids

A while back, I wrote about sticking my camera out of bus windows and just clicking to get everyday views of life in El Salvador, as it is seen from a bus. Another fun thing to do with my camera (OK, my back-up camera) is to hand it off to the kids and to encourage them to take photos. It's always a treat to see through their eyes. ..

Off the Beaten Path: Cerro de Perquin

One day, my husband and I ended up in the department of Morazan, just north of the town of Perquin. We were with a friend who had driven us from San Salvador and who had walked with us through the places and the stories which still hold sad and difficult memories from the war. Our friend, deeply affected by the experience we shared in El Mozote, suggested we go to a park on the top of a hill so that we could stand where we could feel like we could fly. We ended up on the top of Cerro de Perquin. It was lovely. The stiff cool breeze, the smell of the pine trees, the laughter of young people who had gathered for a picnic, helped to calm our spirits. "Put your arms out, and stand on the edge - it looks like you're flying!" Our friend demonstrated. We laughed, took turns flying, and enjoyed the beautiful views of Honduras and Morazan (El Salvador). As we walked, I noticed some ants, busily cutting leaves and carrying them off to their nest. I think it's always imp

Building a Boy

We have been walking with our sister church community for more than 12 years. We've walked together in baptism and funeral, hurricane and earthquake, wedding and birthday, teaching and learning, Bible study and worship, peace and violence. And in 12 years, children have grown up. During his very first visit to our church in the US, our Salvadoran sister pastor spoke about the little ones. I can still picture him motioning with his hand to show the heights of two little boys, Marvin and Ernesto (name changed). These little guys were the present and the future of the community, members of one of the first families to settle in that rag-tag community of in-country war refugees back in 1996. Part of a big family, led by a little and sturdy mom. These boys liked mischief and Sunday School and playing soccer with their friends and their pastor. Marvin liked to play bus driver. When he got to be too much for his mom to handle, a neighbor gentleman took him under his wing, and let

Just another bus ride

I'm not sure why bus rides stick in my head. Maybe it's because I don't typically ride a public bus in my day to day life in the US. Maybe it's because many of my Salvadoran bus rides have included a bit of adventure. It is a wedding day. An hour before the ceremony, the bride grabs my friend Greasy and me by the hands. We run down the hillside steps to the main road to catch a micro-bus. We are off to buy the wedding cake. 15 minutes later we are there in "Mister Pan" to negotiate for a good cake. Then, big white cake in hand, we wait at the stop and flag down the bus. The ride back to the community is a little worrisome as we bump-bump our way along in a crowded micro, thinking that we are going to be really late for the wedding. With 10 minutes to spare, we are back in the community, cake in once piece, just in time for the bride to dress and have a few alterations done before the ceremony. I am living in the community on my own. My Salvadoran fr

Small Wonderfuls

It was Wednesday. The pastors gathered for worship and study and conversation about current events and what the church is doing. The bishop led the group in a discussion about end times - what the Bible says versus what's out there in popular myth. He brought in Mayan beliefs, Nostradamus, Hollywood and the recent floods. The response to the floods was consuming most of the time, energy and life of the pastors and their congregations. Within the midst of the bishop's history and intellect and theology was a very short story. "I once met a little girl with a doll, and the little girl said, 'Thank God for the earthquake, because without it, I would not have this wonderful doll.' " Small wonderfuls are God's way of showing us that he is with us, no matter how bad it gets. What is your small wonderful today? (Note: Linda took this photo in 2005 at a refugee center for victims of a volcano eruption.)

Tales of Greasy and Grubby - Serving the Meal

This week, I was reminded of a story. I have told it a few times. It's one of those stories that unfolded in slow motion, and in which the main characters, we, Greasy and Grubby, were a little bit clueless. Our group was at the Bishop's church for worship with the pastors and a pretty good crowd. First Mondays usually bring a bigger crowd because the service includes Holy Communion. Before worship, the Bishop asked the two of us to help serve the meal. "OK," we said. Worship went along as usual, and the time came for Communion. We walked to the front, up the steps, stood by the altar. We were a little nervous, not exactly sure how we were supposed to "help." Hand washing. Words of institution. Greasy was handed the small plate of wafers, and I was given the cup. The Bishop showed us where to stand, and then he got in line to receive Communion. Greasy's hands were shaking a little bit as she dipped each wafer into the cup and served all who

Off the Beaten Path: Hanging Out in the Park

Recently, I was hanging out in Parque Cuscatlán, and saw a group of explorers doing a trust walk. It was great to see the young people working as a team, and to see the older ones running the activity for the younger ones. It was an afternoon of fun and group-building for the kids - something that stands out in contrast to the challenging afternoons of survival that lots of young people face. Seeing these kids reminded me of one of my first experiences in El Salvador. We were marching through the streets of San Salvador with hundreds of people in a pilgrimage to honor the anniversary of Salvadoran Lutheran Church and to bring attention to the issue of violence against children. Boy Scouts and Explorers were helping out along the route. Their job was to keep the crowd contained on the street, which they skillfully did as they passed long boundary ropes from scout to scout. (Picture a giant inch-worm moving along each side of the crowd.) These kids were trustworthy, courteo