Showing posts from April, 2011

Friendship and Love

A new friend request came via Facebook. At first, I did not recognize the name, so I ignored the request. Some weeks later, when I was looking through a trip journal and some photos, I had an "ah-ha" moment and put name to face and thought how kind it was of this new friend to remember me. I hit "accept" and had a new Facebook friend in El Salvador -- one of my first. My friend is very thoughtful. I receive lots of little email encouragements from her and, not just the standard ones which get forwarded on between large lists of e-friends, but personally crafted messages filled with references to the few times we have been together. We share little bits of news with each other about family and friends. When her sister had a baby, I sent a soft yellow blanket. During this year's holistic healing event, my friend came for a medical check-up, and she brought her mom and brother for check-ups too. Her mom needed a special medicine which we did not have but wh

Off the Beaten Path: Unexpected Surprises

A couple of free hours...what to do...the guide book says there is a Natural History Museum not too far away...let's go! We found our way through a mostly residential neighborhood to a tucked-away park. The book said we would have to walk through the park to get to the museum, so we went to the park entrance, paid our 20 cents each, and we were off on our latest adventure. Immediately we were faced with a decision: the high road, or the low road. We took the high road and when a middle path appeared, we chose that one. Surprise number one: the cool shaded paths paralleled one another on the side of a steep hill, so the choice of path was inconsequential because a look down the hill from any one of them offered a view into a stadium with a bike track. A cycling team was practicing, the coaches setting the pace and calling out instructions. It was so unexpected and an opportunity for us to wonder if El Salvador has an Olympic cycling team. After watching the cyclists for a whil

Tales of Greasy and Grubby: La Puerta Automática

Of course by now it is clear that Greasy and Grubby are the best of friends, and that Julia, who has been often separated from Greasy and Grubby by barriers of language and distance, is precious to them both and they to her. This friendship is a mystery. A miracle. A gift from God. It is rooted in hugs, and laughter, and tears and stories and the stuff of life that three women whisper about in a hot and tiny room late into the night. One of the all-time favorite stories that these three share is the story of "La Puerta Automática " - "The Automatic Door." Grubby had a video camera. It was back when video cameras were big and clunky, and making a movie was a seriously public spectacle because there was no chance of filming anything surreptitiously. "Can we make a movie about your house?" Greasy boldly asked. "We can use it to teach the children in Sunday School about a typical house in El Salvador." It was also a good way to fill some time

Just Click: Fifteen Minutes in Juayua

Sometimes a gracious delegation will let me tag along for a ride. This is a great way for me to get to where I need to be with a little extra fun and friendship along the way. In this way, I recently took an unexpected ride along the Ruta de las Flores.  After the rainy months, this scenic drive between Sonsonate and Santa Ana is lined with flowers of all kinds, but this excursion was mysteriously (to me, anyway) planned during the dry time. The group was pretty tired of riding in the bus but remained in good humor, entertaining themselves with card games, music, jokes and conversation. Me -- I got out my camera, cracked the bus window open and started clicking away. Balloon guys are funny - but what is this one supposed to be? I just cannot imagine the laundry stays very clean as it dries. Also - kudos for creativity in hanging. Remnants of the old train system - some day, I will need to check out the train museum in Sonsonate This just seems weird and so far removed from the lives of

A Man Named Antonio

There are some stories which are meant to be told. Told not often, not casually, but told when the time is right. The time seems right to tell this story. This is the story of Antonio. Antonio was brought to us by his family. He arrived in a wheelchair, bandages around one ankle and foot, an IV-port still in his arm, evidence to support the family's concern that he left the hospital without permission. The Mission of Healing team was set up that year in the Salvadoran Lutheran Church clinic - a very basic operation in a large, war-worn building. Bus-loads of patients were brought in from outlying communities to pass through our system of holistic care. Antonio had heard about the mission from Lutheran neighbors in El Paisnal, and he had faith that we could do something for him which the hospital doctors could not. The triage nurses took Antonio's vitals and history. He worked in construction and was a strong man. He had been on a job and injured his fo

Before we were secret friends...

So, there is a bit of a back story about my amiga secreta . About three years before the big secret friend party, there was a birthday party. And before the birthday party, there was time spent in Josefina's home. My first stay at Josefina's home was during a Greasy and Grubby adventure. Back a few years, when Greasy and I were called by God to be a part of a spiritual movement in our sister community, when we showed up in El Salvador with the faith and promise that God would provide, Josefina and her four-generation family provided. They provided us with their beds, their food, their candlelight, their late-night conversation and their love -- all in a warm, tiny, dirt-floored, mouse-friendly home. One night ther e were a birthday cake and mariachis and a surprise party for Josefina's daughter. After a short time of Greasy and Grubby playing with the mariachis, it was time to listen, and Josefina pulled me onto her lap and held on tight. This was my spot for the res

Amiga Secreta

Today is the one year anniversary of Linda's El Salvador Blog. When I settled in to write this anniversary post, it didn't take me long to decide on a story to share. This is the story of my first secret friend. It was the week before Valentine's Day. We were all staying in our sister church community for the annual Mission of Healing. We were a small group back then - a few nurses, a nurse practitioner, a lay pharmacist and a couple of people to teach the kids about healthy teeth. At the start of the week during Sunday worship we were all invited to put our names into a little hat. Then each person drew out a name. My turn came around and I pulled out a tiny slip of paper with a name on it, the name of my amiga secreta, Josefina. What a special surprise! I loved Josefina, really, like a grandma, and she loved me back with those big long hugs and face squeezes that only grandmas can get away with. Because we did not know anything about this community tradition of se