I had a bit of a sore throat last night and when I woke up this morning. Cecilia said she did too and thought it was because of all the dust we inhaled on the road yesterday. Who knows. I had some tea with honey and that seemed to help. Breakfast this morning was plantains, beans, an egg, and bread. I guess I must be using a lot more energy while I’m here because I’ve been super hungry lately, especially in the mornings, which usually isn’t the case.
I worked on school stuff for a while and then Kathy and I went to the market. I have a cell phone while I’m here in case I need to call anyone here in El Sal or in the US. We went to a store where Kathy showed me how to put money on my phone. Then we walked around for a while. We stopped by to say ‘hi’ to Haydee, who has a pupusa stand and sells hot chocolate. She makes some of the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted. She grinds her own beans and makes discs out of chocolate. I needed to get some to bring back to the house. I use the word need here because when you taste Haydee’s hot chocolate you know that you need it. Her daughter, Mily, is sometimes the translator for the Westminster delegation. But she was at the University in San Miguel so we didn’t get to see her.
Back at the house I asked the ladies if I could help with the food preparation. They were making food to take to the church for lunch. Idalia put me in charge of washing and slicing the radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce. I ended up with a giant salad. They took off for the church and I had some time to read. Lunch today was rice with a thick sauce that had green beans, potatoes, carrots, and guisquil in it. I also forced down some bread; it’s so hard to do when the bread is baked fresh daily without any preservations or additives (that was sarcasm- I LOVE the bread).
Around 1pm seven of us took off from the house to go to the canton of Las Delicias where Chon knew some people. It took about an hour to get there, but Kathy didn’t have to drive. She’d been giving Cecelia’s brother, Alejandro, driving lessons for about 7 months so he drove us to Las Delicias. She must be one heck of a good teacher because he is a great driver. I can’t believe that in 7 months he learned to drive a stick shift in a big truck, through the mountains, on insanely bumpy roads. I’m not sure I’d trust myself to drive here using an automatic. Sadly, I can’t drive a stick shift so we probably won’t find out what kind of driver I am here.
We visited two houses in Las Delicias. At the first house we sat inside and chatted for a while. Chon told them about the co-op we visited the other day. There was an adorable little boy there, but he didn’t want to be held by the gringas. The family offered us some juice that looked pretty good. I didn’t know what it was at first. It had a familiar taste but I couldn’t place it. Kathy told later that it was horchata. This came as a huge surprise to me because when I’ve drank horchata in the states I never liked it. Horchata is a drink usually made from rice, but sometimes ground almonds, sesame seeds, barley, or tigernuts. The horchata found in El Salvador is primarily made from morro seeds. Some recipes call for milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg. Not sure what ours had in it. I think the reason I didn’t like it in the states is because there it’s made from only rice.
This was also my first time drinking filtered water. Let me explain. Most people from the US, including myself, usually drink pure when they stay here. That means it comes from those 5 gallon jugs that you’d get at the store (it’s delivered here). Filtered water is from the filters that have been distributed throughout many of the cantons surrounding Berlín. Usually delegations don’t drink that water just in case. But I’m still feeling well so all signs point to me not being sick.
After chatting a while longer we left the house and walked next door. We sat inside part of the woman’s house for a while and talked, drank orange soda, and ate cookies. They also had an adorable little kid. She was pretty cute but didn’t want to get to close to us. She actually shrieked a few times when we got too close. She did accept a pen and paper from Kathy and a later a cookie. We left around 5:45pm to go back to Berlín. The people from the first house gave us a plantain stock (not sure if this is the right word) that had over 50 plantains on it.
We had a kind of quesadilla tonight for dinner. It was made from the thick corn tortillas we usually eat. They cut the tortillas in half, slice them open and fill them with cheese. We also ate tamales. These were a little different than the ones I ate earlier in the week. These tamales were more smooth and filled with chicken and potatoes. Kathy told me there were several different ways to make tamales. I’ve liked both kinds I’ve had so far.
After dinner Blanca got a splinter in her finger. I went into my room for a while and when I emerged I found Blanca, Idalia, Chon, and Kathy crowded around the table with what appeared to be a dissection kit. Surgery was in progress. Kathy held a mini flashlight over Blanca’s hand while Chon tried to pick out the splinter and Idalia helped. I also saw a scalpel, tape, a scissors, and matches on the table. They weren’t having any luck so Kathy had Blanca put her finger in warm water with salt. “For infection”, she said. Chon went to her room to get a small travel sewing kit she got in 1986. Idalia and Chon then proceeded to use the needles to get out the splinter. After a while I grabbed the tweezers and tried to get it out. No such luck. So Chon squeezed some lime juice from a fresh lime on her finger. I’m not sure what this was supposed to accomplish but Blanca didn’t mind. When we looked again it appeared that the splinter was gone. We had triumphed. Tres médicas de España, El Salvador, y los Estados Unidos (three doctors from Spain, El Salvador, and the United States). I always like to end the night on a high note if possible.
And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” Genesis 21:6