Showing posts from July, 2011

Off the Beaten Path: Road Trip to Tazumal

The bus rolled down the highway, filled with the voices of people chatting, singing and laughing. We were on our way to Tazuma l, site of some pretty famous Mayan ruins, and the first stop on our road trip. To best understand the atmosphere on the bus and the stories and photos from Tazumal and our other field trip destinations, it might be helpful to have a little background information. Five of us had traveled from our homes in the US to visit with our sister church community in El Salvador. As part of our partnership together, we have a scholarship program which enables kids, who may not otherwise be able to go to school, to study. There are 84 kids in the program, including 16 who are studying at the university level. The five travelers are sponsors for one or more students, and the plan for the visit included spending time with scholarship families in their homes, touring the different schools with the students as the guides, and going on field trips with students or parents

Jammin' to the same Tunes

One by one, the moms, young adults and a couple of little ones climbed into the bus. It was 7:30 am and we were heading out from our sister church community to tour Tazumal and Santa Ana. Delegations often do a day or two of "tourist" activities during a sister church visit, but this delegation was different - it was all about doing things together. So, on this day, the "tourists" were mostly Salvadoran. Out of the 24 people from our sister church community on that bus, only 2 of the young people had been to Tazumal on school field trips, and only one had seen the cathedral in Santa Ana. We headed for the highway, and not too far down the road one of the young ladies popped up front to chat with the driver. (First of all, it was extremely funny that she knew the driver - in El Salvador I think there are only 2 degrees of separation between people.) She flipped down the DVD player and put in a music DVD. (It was also funny that we have ridden in this coaster

A Little Miracle

We were getting ready to leave the community after a long and fun day. "Miss Linda, you have to come over to my house!" Frankie was insistent, "You really have to come over to my house," he said again, grabbing my hand. "Hey you guys!" I called out to my group, "I'll be right back. Apparently I have to go to Frankie's house." I asked Frankie if it was OK with his mom. He assured me that his mom really wanted me to come. I gingerly climbed down the steep path, grabbing onto the barbed wire for balance. Frankie ran ahead into the house, and then emerged again extending his hand. He led me into the front room of the two room house. Frankie's mom greeted me just inside the door with a big warm hug. She turned toward the big double bed behind her, and with a little gesture presented her new baby daughter, Melissa. Melissa was sleeping peacefully on a sturdy little waterproof pad, which her mother scooped up and placed into my arms.

Say Yes to JELLO!

After church we walked down the hill from the church, past the school to the lunch spot. One of the moms in the community opened her home to our 5-person delegation and about 25 community members. The Family Commission, women leaders from different sectors in the community, came together to cook the celebration feast. It began with soup - big bowls of steaming soup filled with big chunks of vegetables and chicken parts. Stacks of piping hot tortillas were set in the middle of the table and cold grape soda was served in styrofoam cups. The silverware was carefully wrapped in napkins like in a fancy restaurant, and the tables were covered with lace and embroidered tablecloths. The soup itself was more than sufficient for a meal, but then out came the rice - tasty when added to the soup or piled on a plate. Everyone had china plates, and the women must have gathered them from each of their homes and their friends' homes so that there were enough. One of the women brought around

¿Todos somos niñas y niños, verdad?

F rom the top of the hill we could see yellow and pink and blue balloons, strung in an archway along the side of the path. This was our first sign that the afternoon would be special. We walked carefully down the steep slope, down the crumbling stairs, across the little ditch, pausing at the ballooned gateway for a "pase, pase", and we entered the front yard of the party house. White plastic chairs, borrowed from the church, were lined up beneath the metal porch roof. We were invited to sit down, which we did for a moment here and a moment there in between standing up to greet each new arrival. As we were served chilled cola in styrofoam cups, a big box from Mister Pan was carried inside. Soon, china plates with gigantic pieces of cake were handed to each of us. On top of the orange drink, the fruit salad with honey, and the blue frozen treat with gummy worms inside which we had received at our three previous home visits of the day, the cake was the perfect dessert