Showing posts from September, 2011

The End of the Tales of Greasy and Grubby?

Greasy and Grubby have had many adventures in El Salvador, but because Greasy's home base is now a flight away from Grubby's home base, their travels together have lessened. This fall, Grubby had the opportunity to serve as a coordinator and guide for a church in her area which is building a new relationship with a sister church in the eastern part of El Salvador. Greasy was on her way to El Salvador, accompanying her new bishop and a friend to a wedding and then making a visit out to the eastern part of El Salvador. Well, when God creates opportunities like this for Greasy and Grubby, Greasy and Grubby make plans! The two friends headed to El Salvador and crossed paths a few times during their different journeys there: big hugs in the Bishop's office, getting to know the people in Llano el Coyol, and a brief visit at the beach. At the end of their fun and responsibilities here and there, the two of them planned a weekend get-away in their sister church community. It

Alabare...bum, bum, bum, bum

Today we learned that Don Francisco passed away. I wasn't surprised by this sad news. When we visited Francisco two months ago, he appeared to be declining in physical strength and in spirit. My Salvadoran goddaughter and I knelt on the floor beside his mattress and bent close so we could hear him. We held his chilled hands in ours and sang the one song we knew he loved, "Alabare." He sang with his heart and his lips, but with no strength of voice. We knew his time with us would be short. Our visit to Casa Esperanza today was made with guitar in hand and voices ready to lift Don Francisco's spirits. When we learned that he was gone, we did not go upstairs, we did not go to his room. We missed him, but "Alabare" was sung, along with many other lively tunes so that all the clients in the house were laughing and clapping and singing with great enthusiasm! Tonight, Mama Trini shared the story of Don Francisco's last days... On Sunday he was grumpy an


Today we were at the beach. Warm hazy sun, a breeze off of the water, huge waves crashing at their breaking point and friends gathered together for fun made it a very perfect day. After swimming and playing beach soccer and eating delicious boca colorada fish and sharing stories with one another, we decided to share one last song together. As soon as the cords echoed through the guitars, the hands began to clap and voices rang out, "Alabare, alabare! Alabare, alabare!" The voices rose up through the sound of the crashing waves, and within a few moments the kitchen staff and various children were singing too. Then I noticed the stranger at the gate. He appeared to be in the neighborhood to sell crabs (because he held a bundle of wriggly crabs in his hand). He set down the bundle and clapped with great exuberance. It was hard to tell if he already knew the song or was learning it quickly. The smile on his face was fantastic! I motioned to him to see if it was OK to t

Pupusa Obama?

Pupusas are a gastronomic experience which every visitor in El Salvador should embrace. My first pupusas were served up at Pupusaria Paty: bean and cheese. Since then I have eaten pupusas in homes, in churches, at sidewalk cafes and in large restaurants from one corner of El Salvador to the other, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It's a good thing that I like pupusas. On the outskirts of Nejapa at the turn of the road which leads to Apopa, with its bright green facade sits the Pupus --> รณ dromo. This is one of my new favorite places for pupusas, and it has as much to do with the atmosphere and the pupusa-makers as the pupusas themselves. We arrived and settled in front of the first pupusaria in the line of pupusarias which make up the pupusodromo. We scooted benches and tables to create a suitably large dining area. We were presented with a little pad of paper and a pen so we could write down our order: all different kinds and more than 45 pupusas in all. Of

I Hope

The crows in my yard at home make a lot of noise. They swoop and dive and loudly call at each other, "caw, caw, caw." They walk in the grass, looking large like turkeys. They sort of give me the creeps. Sometimes, an ordinary experience like a hearing a crow caw acts as a reminder of an extraordinary experience of the past. The crows remind me of the vultures. They swooped, hovered over warm spots, perched everywhere. Side by side with people, they pecked at the garbage. Side by side with people, they lived in the stink of the San Salvador municipal garbage dump. Eleven years ago, those vultures gave me the creeps. Eleven years ago, that stench entered my nostrils. Eleven years ago, families looked at me and I looked at them. They gathered their life and livelihood from the garbage; I stood speechless holding a camera. They sought shelter from the sun under tattered plastic rooftops; I wore sunscreen and a new hat. They were home; I got into a bus and drove away. E

It Broke

My left wrist is typically adorned with several bracelets. These are gifts from friends and I really do wear them until they break . This week, one broke. I was sitting in the kitchen, working at my computer, and just like that the elastic broke and little lavender beads scattered across the kitchen floor. I thought about the little girl who had given me this beaded bracelet -- I have known her since she was a baby. I have slept in her home. I have eaten many meals with her at my side. We have done homework together. I stood behind her when she was confirmed. Her great-grandma was my secret friend. When her grandma was surprised with a birthday party, we were there together. I didn't need the bracelet to help me to remember to pray for this family, but I have to admit that whenever I caught a glimpse of it on my wrist or had the occasion to move it around a bit, I gave my young friend and her very big and special family an extra thought. I grabbed the vacuum to gather up