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Showing posts from 2023

We Remember the Joy

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The sun slipped below the San Salvador Volcano, casting bright orange and pink streaks across the purpling sky. Mothers were gathered at the corner, chatting as their little ones zoomed around with red and yellow plastic trucks. Students began arriving home from school, trudging up the hill wearing comfy blue gym pants and white t-shirts and carrying loaded backpacks. Yessenia sat on the curb, minding her pop-up store which she sets up every afternoon in front of the church.  The church doors and windows were wide open. Cristina cut out and decorated the number 27. People sat around inside and out, chatting and sharing stories. Children worked on homework. We watched a video I had posted on YouTube from last year's anniversary celebration and laughed about Marcelino's love of fireworks. The pupusas arrived. We sat in the sanctuary in a big circle of green plastic chairs, licked salsa and curtido from our fingers, and drank hot coffee. More people arrived. Chairs were passed ou

The Plant that Came from Nowhere and Grows Everywhere

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I am a plant person - a plant person without a garden or a yard or a farm. We have porches.  Porch Pot (©Linda Muth, 2023) It's pretty amazing to see what will grow on a porch.  I like to experiment with what might be considered garbage from things I get at the grocery store. Most Salvadoran produce is not hybrid, so saved seeds will germinate. Herbs are sold with the roots, so it sometimes works to cut off most of the herbs and stick the roots into a pot. I am currently experimenting with some little chunks of ginger that were no longer edible.  After a couple of weeks in the soil, the roots are sprouting nice little stalks and leaves. Ginger sprouting (©Linda Muth, 2023) Frequent travel makes porch gardening extra challenging. One option is to grow for a while and then give plants away.  One time, I left a bucket of basil, rosemary and other herbs with Pastor Santiago's mom, and it produced abundantly until Santiago cut off too much. (He told me he was grateful for the learni

We Got This

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Sunday was gym day.  We did not go to the gym. The gym came to Los Héroes. And it was beautiful. A Back Story We have a little group at the church called the Comisión de Salud - the Health Commission. We meet on the first Sunday of the month (with the other 3 church ministry commissions).  At our first meeting in January, we decided to sponsor one health education workshop or event each month on a Sunday after worship. We discussed using the Mission of Healing curriculum which was developed last year.  Commission members suggested we meet an extra time each month for internal training with the curriculum, particularly to expand the reproductive education team which will assist with Days for Girls kit distribution events.  We identified potential partnership connections with the Unidad de Salud (local clinic) and organizations which support holistic well-being. A Partnership Connection Just over a year ago, a community gym opened up in a neighborhood not too far from Los Héroes. Som

Little Bits of Miracles

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A long time ago, a Sunday School student gave me a little notebook for Christmas. I brought it to El Salvador in the early years and jotted down some notes and stories. Most of the writings in this notebook have neither dates nor years, which has made organizing my journals and photographs from that era an archeological experience. A few days ago, I came across this little story, which I did not even know I had written down: We visited Pastor Matías' church, Milagro de Dios - Miracle of God. They lost everything in a recent robbery, but greeted us warmly with snacks and singing. Vonda gave away her guitar. I love her. We took up a little collection ($150) which will pay for a new motor for the mill, to replace the stolen one. The Abuela of the Senior Citizen group stuck the money in her bra. She said it is the bank. She is the church treasurer. I read this and my first thought was: I do love Vonda. I can still picture the moment Vonda turned to me and said, &quo

Little Fingerprints

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The other day, someone asked me what I love about El Salvador. I thought for a moment, then answered with a story... At the end of January, my father-in-law and two of my brothers-in-law came to visit. For 25 years they have heard stories about El Salvador, and they were curious to see things for themselves and understand why we spend so much time here.  We planned a short trip, complete with a history day, a volcano day, a coast day and a day with our church community. My father-in-law, Papá Roberto (as we call him here), is an elder. He'll be 90 this year. For us, this produced a little bit of stress because El Salvador isn't exactly known for it's smooth sidewalks and accessible locations. And, there is always the chance of tummy trouble. We chose our destinations carefully and hired a trusted driver so my husband and I could more fully enjoy the longer excursions.  Sunday was our church community day. The Los Héroes hills are a little steep for doing a walking-tour, so

On and Off the Beaten Path: Suchitoto

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Today we are not winding down the hill below Suchitoto to catch a boat on the shore of Lago Suchitlán .  Today we are not going to hear a grandfather's story while bumping along on the road between Aguilares and Suchitoto. I realized today that Suchitoto appears as a character in several of my stories, but never as the main character. So today, it's time to actually go to Suchitoto. Central Plaza in Suchitoto (©2023 Linda Muth) The city of Suchitoto is situated between the Guazapa volcano and the Lempa River valley, on the western edge of the Department of Custcatlán.  The name "Suchitoto" originates from a Nahuat word meaning "bird-flower." Archeologists believe the town was established as a Pipil (indigenous) settlement in the mid-11th century CE. Near to the city (and within the Suchitoto municipality), Spanish colonizers  established what is known as the second "Villa de San Salvador" (the capital of San Salvador) in 1528 CE. Although the town