Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 7: La Yanez

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Another glorious day in El Salvador. Today we visited the community of La Yanez. We piled into the truck and left. When we arrived we were warmly greeted with handshakes and hugs. I was extremely excited to see everyone again! I know a lot of people in this community. There was a brief meeting with the Directiva and some of the community came first. People introduced themselves and expressed gratitude for our visit. Many people spoke and were excited about our visit. We met for about half an hour and then it was time for the piñata. Yay! Kids swung away at the piñata hoping for candy. Eventually the piñata broke and down rained the candy. They all rushed in to get as many pieces as they could. I always love watching kids break piñatas.
Soon the fun was over and it was time to meet with the Directiva. They talked about how grateful they are for the Pastoral Team and their relationship with Westminster. They discussed the many projects that the Pastoral Team and Westminster have helped out with and were incredibly appreciative. Many people spoke about how the projects have personally helped them. However, there are still needs in the community. Nobody owns their own land in La Yanez and they don’t have proper houses. There is no school close by and it takes a long time for the kids to walk to school. Overall, La Yanez is a very poor community.
As of right now, no one has water in their water tanks because it hasn’t rained for so long. People don’t know if they’ll have water in their tanks or a harvest this year. This means no food and no security for next year. This means they have to walk a very long distance to get water. The hike down to one of their water sources seemed like something out of Backpacker Magazine. I barely made it down to the source and only got there with the helping hands of several people. Yes, people literally held my hand as I walked down some of steep hills. If it wasn’t for them I’m sure I would have fallen. When we got there we were reminded how oftentimes when people get to the water source, they have to wait in line. And right now filing up your entire cántaro (water jug) can take a long time.
Colds, the flu, and a high temperature are the most common ailments in the community. Thankfully, diarrhea isn’t as much of a problem now because of the water filters given to them by the Pastoral Team. But even these minor problems cause stress in the community. There is no medicine in the community and to try to transport sick people to a clinic is complicated. So most people stay in their homes and suffer in the heat and without anything to sooth them.
After the meeting we walked to each house in the community. There was a lot of steep uphill and downhill walking involved. I love walking house to house in this community. We always have a big group of people accompanying us. It was a joy to be able to visit everyone in the community. The families were all very welcoming and caring. I spent as much time as I could talking to each family.
Eventually it was time to go. I had a very difficult time leaving La Yanez. I always have a rough time saying goodbye to everyone. I cried some as I left people behind. Especially Alicia and her mom. I know I will see them again, I just wish it didn’t have to be such a long time in between. I wish they had cell phones and Facebook but they don’t. I wish I could mail them letters, but they have no addresses. The only way we’re able to stay in touch is through God, our minds, and our hearts.
I’m having a hard time just finishing this blog. I want to write more, but it makes me feel so sad. It gets harder to write the closer I get to my departure date. I am going to attempt to write my final blog tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get it done. Wish me luck!

Riding to La Yanez

That's a steep place to turn

Beautiful countryside

I love this view

The president of the Directiva talking

Some members of the community

The entire Directiva

Saying thanks

Piñata time



Get the candy!

With some of my friends


Meeting with the Directiva

With Alicia

Alisha & Alicia






Visiting families




We hiked to the place where the community starts
the procession for it's patron saint festival.

There's a cave nearby


More bats!

Mom made a friend



Lunch time


Getting to hold Alicia!!


They got a ride. The young ones had to walk.




More hiking










The last house


Love this face!

Dying watermelon plants. Not enough water.

A nasty hike down to their local water source

Hiking back up

Alicia, her mom, and her brother

Goodbye Alicia!!