It’s been a pretty laid back day for me, which has been nice. Betty and Maurice left early this morning at 3:30am. If I heard them I was going to wake up and say goodbye but I didn’t hear anything. I was kind of bummed when I woke up at 5:00am and realized they’d already left. But such is life I guess. I went back to bed and slept in until 8am. Yay! Since one delegation just left and another was coming today I figured Cecilia probably wouldn’t have time to be making breakfast so I could sleep in. Blanca offered to make me something but I said the cold tamales and bread they were having would work for me too. It was a nice, simple breakfast.
I spent a lot of the day working on my blog for yesterday. Maurice had a ton of pictures that I downloaded and sorted through as well as going through my own. Plus there was a lot that needed to be written. It was a huge, important celebration so I felt it deserved a good blog. I also spent time getting my room organized. I hadn’t really had time since the Trinity delegation left on Tuesday to move into my room and get organized. I’ve been too busy having fun! But now the blog has been written and I know where everything is in my room.
The ladies cleaned and washed everything today. And I mean everything. The bedding, bedrooms, floors, bathrooms, kitchen, counters, fridge, oven, etc are all clean. They also went shopping for more food and supplies. Taking care of a delegation is a lot of work, and cleaning up after and preparing for another delegation is just as much work. It’s like owning a bed and breakfast only you never get paid, you make all the meals, and have to accompany your guests on all their activities. Can you see why I love these women!?!? So after we ate lunch they took a break and I showed them some of the pictures that Maurice took yesterday at the celebration. They loved looking at them!
When we were done looking through the photos I decided it was time to do some laundry. Doing laundry here is a lengthy process, especially for us gringos who haven’t been doing it since we were old enough to walk. You start by putting water into a large guacal (plastic tub) and adding “rinso” which is like laundry detergent. You stir that up a bit with your hands and then you put in your clothes and kind of squish them around in the water. That sits for about 10 minutes or more if you get busy with something else. Then you take out each piece one at a time and put it on the cement slab next to the pila (cement basin). You rub it with soap inside and out. Then you either (1) take a stiff brush and scrub to get the dirt out or (2) you use your hands and kind of squish the soap around. I prefer to use my hands especially on my shirts because I don’t want them to stretch too much. There are no dryers here to use to “shrink” my shirts if I get them really stretched out. I use the brush on most of my pants and my towel.
After soaping and scrubbing or squishing your clothes you have to rinse them. This is the part that I find the most difficult because you really have to make sure you get all the soap out of your clothes. There are several methods of rinsing. (1) You can use a smaller guacal with water to put your clothing item in as you use another guacal to pour water into the first one. Then you squish it around till the soap comes out and repeat the process several times. (2) You can hold the clothing item up and pour water down it to push out the soap. Then you ring the excess water and soap out. Repeat this process as needed. (3) You use a combination of both steps depending on the clothing item you are cleaning. I tend to use a combination of rinsing methods when I’m rinsing small items like shirts and socks. And yes, this also how you wash all of your “delicate” items as well.
After soaking, washing, and rinsing you hang your clothes up in the yard on lines to dry. This usually isn’t too bad in the dry season because it doesn’t rain very much, although you do have to try not to get your clean, wet clothes dusty. In the rainy season it’s hard because (1) it rains a lot so you have to move your clothes when it starts raining, put them underneath something so they don’t get wet, or just let them get soaked. (2) Everything is wet and stays wet in the rainy season so clothes can become moldy if not properly dried. My biggest concern with line drying clothes is that I don’t have a dryer to shrink the clothes if I stretch them out too much. Plus I like to be able to move the clothes periodically when they’re drying so they don’t have funny line marks on them.
Moral of the story: In El Salvador there is no difference between clothes that are labeled wash cold, wash hot, wash warm, gentle cycle, hand wash, and dry clean. All clothes get hand washed and air dried. And if you’re a woman, get use to it because you’ll be doing it the rest of your life.
I had just finished doing my laundry when the three-person First Presbyterian Church in Newton delegation arrived around 4pm. Visiting with that group are Warren Erickon, Linda Anderson, and Linda’s daughter, Jenny Cunningham. Both Linda and Warren have been here before but it was Jenny’s first time. I’m glad they made it to the house because the pickup almost didn’t make it. Parts of the cables were corroded and the cables had to be twisted together in order for them to get to Berlín from San Salvador. Thankfully a mechanic was able to come over tonight and fix the problem so we’ll be able to use the truck tomorrow.
We ate dinner around 6:15pm. We dined on tortillas with cheese, casamiento (bean & rice), and french fries. It was all delicious and went down well, even though I ate a couple pieces of pan dulce (sweet bread) not long before dinner. After dinner we had a welcome meeting and talked about the week ahead. We tried to not draw out the meeting longer than necessary because Kathy is losing her voice and really needs to sleep. And on that note I bid you goodnight.
Pila where water is collected and dishes and clothes are washed
Laundry drying in the yard
The pila as seen from the yard above