Showing posts from August, 2012

The Rice-a-Roni Story

In the early days, the secret goal of any delegation member was to be assigned to Sandra's house.  Even before the days of cinder block and tile floor when the roof leaked and a riverlet channel ran across the width of the dirt floor, Sandra's house provided a much appreciated level of comfort. Some people are just naturally neat and tidy.  Some people have a knack for creating a cheerful and welcoming space with very basic things.  Some people can turn ordinary ingredients into a gourmet dinner.  Sandra has these gifts by nature, but she has also developed these gifts in order to preserve the precarious life of her son.  Born with a serious heart condition, Sandra's son was not given good expectations for a long or active live.  He is now in high school and has aspirations of becoming a doctor. So, as Sandra swept debris from her yard to keep the cockroaches and mice away, as Sandra carefully washed her vegetables and dishes in water which she chlorinated, and as Sandr

The Legend of El Tabudo

After we returned from Lake Coatepeque , I wondered if there were any interesting folk stories about the lake.  It felt like one of those special places - a little bit quiet, hidden in a caldera, deep blue water, lots of fish.  Thanks to Gloria and Guillermo, I learned this story... The legend of El Tabudo has become very popular among fishermen, residents and visitors to Lake Coatepeque and has spread so much that people tell the same legend of all lakes and lagoons of El Salvador. It seems that the owner of a beautiful mansion located on the shores of Lake Coatepeque went for a ride in a traditional hand-made canoe.  As he came near the island he was swept away by an underground stream and carried to the realm of the goddess of fresh water, never to be seen alive again.  A few months later he appeared to the people who were looking after his property which they had inherited. They were astonished and confused when they saw him because his knees had widened so much that l

Off the Beaten Path: A Day at Lake Coatepeque

It was a long drive from the city out to the lake.  We crammed ourselves into a bus and an SUV. According to the advice of the group, we left San Salvador at 6:30 am.  Our first stop was a gas station where more than a few grabbed an early morning coffee and everyone used the bathroom.  Considering the women vastly outnumbered the men, the ladies decided to take over the men's room too.  It's hard to describe how funny this was - the teenage girls needed a lot of convincing that this would be OK. When a gentleman showed up he chuckled at the situation and graciously waited in line for his turn after the ladies finished up.   We were soon on our way and arrived at the ruins of San Andres too early to enter.  No problem! We decided to go to the lake first and the ruins later in the day. Our next stop (after the gate at San Andres) was at the grocery store in El Congo where a very practical team of  women picked up the fixings for a picnic lunch of ham sandwiches and orange drin