Thursday, February 24, 2011

More of Muñoces

Wednesday, 2-23-11

We got on the road a little late today and arrived in Muñoces at 9:15am. We had about 16 more families to get to before 1:00pm. The first house we walked to today was about a ¼ mile away. It took about 15 minutes to get there because we went down quite a ways and then back up. An older woman and her son live in the house. We spent quite a bit of time talking to them because they live so far away from the rest of the people in community. Her house was a very sorry sight. It was made with wood and some sort of sod/mud that was very dry and cracked. I felt gripped with sadness when I looked inside her house. There was a modest little kitchen/living room and a small bedroom. The large, flat dish that is used to cook tortillas was rusted and falling apart. I can only imagine how much the roof must leak during the rainy season. She was so excited to get a new purple hat and I know her son liked the piocha (pickax). I hope we see her at the party tomorrow.

The hike back to the main road took awhile but it was incredibly beautiful. William graciously helped lovely Linda down the path so she didn’t take a dive into the ravine. Later tonight Warren declared that if Linda could do that path then anyone from their church should be able to handle El Salvador. We stopped at several more houses once we got back to the main road. I saw lots of animals, plants, and little children at all the houses so (of course) I have many wonderful pictures of animals, plants, and children.

I had a really good time watching the Newton delegation interact with their community. It was nice to be able to be more of an observer instead of an active participant at each house. I introduced myself to people and was able to chat with a few people, but watching the greetings and hugs was a lot of fun. There was so much joy and happiness in the air. I feel like the pictures do a better job of telling the story of our day than I could describe in words.

Walking to Concepcion's house

Talking with Concepcion

The house she shares with her son

The outside wall of her house

Writing on the outside of her house

A look inside

In her beautiful new hat

Talking to her son

Getting down the hill very slowy. This picture does not
do justice to how steep & slippery the hill is.

You can do it, Linda!

The national flower comes from this plant

Mmmm, plantains!

Gobble, gobble, gobble!

A match made in heaven

Can I please take the kitty home?!

Mommy & babies

Sleeping Emerson


Linda talking to Valentina

Valentina's new rake, hat, and red rose

Kathy playing with a little boy

Looking at old pictures

Peeking out from behind her sisters

The grandma of the family

Her little shoes squeaked when she walked!

A brand new piocha

Family photo

A walk with Kathy

The horse wanted to come inside

Cute hat!

Quality time

 Beautiful faces

He looks like a little stud!

God is love

The carao tree

Photo with William the translator who is apparently my brother
(seriously, someone actually asked)

This guy is a major FMLN supporter

After we finished up going door to door we went back to the church for lunch. We had about an hour before our final meeting with the Directiva. The ladies served us a large plate of pasta with cooked vegetables. We relaxed a while and I even laid my head on the table for a few minutes. Soon people began to arrive at the church and we began the meeting at 2pm.

We discussed several things at the meeting including what organizations the community is working with on certain projects and what the projects are. I had heard of all of the organizations they are working with because many of them are working with other cantons in Berlín. Here are the organizations they are working with and the projects they are working on:

* Alcaldia (City Hall)- electricity, water
* Procomes- crops, fertilizer, reforestation
* Intervida- health in children 2 years and younger
* Provida- general health, fruit trees
* CODECO- political issues
* Pastoral House- fertilizer, water filter

We also talked about future projects that the community might want to work on with the support of Newton Presbyterian Church. They need to improve upon the water accessibility in the caserío. They discussed ideas about big water collection tanks to use during the rainy season and something with a pump to get water up to the houses at the top of the hill. Right now during the dry season (summer) there is limited access to water. The river that people use (I’m pretty sure it’s not an actual river) is down at the bottom of a large hill. So there are a lot of ways that the community has thought to improve upon the water situation.

Newton will again be helping out with the cost of fertilizer and each family will be receiving at least one bag of fertilizer. There is some hope than in the future the community will be able to buy 1 manzana (1.6 acres) of land to use for their church. They currently do not own the land that the church is on. At some point the community would love to have a community building where groups can meet, but that might be further into the future than some of the other projects.

Then it was the Pastoral Team’s turn to speak. As with the communities of Corozal and Casa de Zinc, Blanca reminded the people that the Pastoral Team was going to start working even more closely with the Directiva. She also spoke about learning to divide the work that is done amongst the Directiva so one person isn’t doing all the work. The community needs to be involved as well in talking to the Directiva about what they want.

Finally, a couple members of the Directiva talked about the poor harvest of the beans and corn. Even though I’ve heard this several times before in the past two weeks it was still incredibly hard to hear. My heart aches for these people. For those who don’t know where their next meal is going to come from. For those who realize the little they harvested may soon run out. I feel sick thinking about the parents who won’t be able to feed their children dinner. I can’t even imagine how scary it must be to know that each day is a fight to survive. Regardless of how many times I hear their heartbreaking stories and how similar they are it is always painful to listen to families talk about the struggles of daily life. Blanca closed by saying that we must learn to share what we have with our neighbors, and that only by the grace of God do we survive each day.

After a morning of walking and a difficult meeting I welcomed the break. By that time a large group of people from City Hall had arrived to have a meeting with the Directiva. We asked if it’d be okay if we stayed to watch the meeting and the swearing in of the Directiva (which has new officers). We were welcomed to stay. Before the meeting started I spent quite a bit of time talking to Mercedes, who is the síndico (person in charge of all things legal) for City Hall. He was very easy to understand so it was good practice for my Spanish skills. He told me a lot about different programs in the city they have and what ones he’s hoping to get started.

The meeting started a ½ hour late at 3:30pm. I have to admit that for a large portion of the time I was playing with the kids near me. But that’s okay because a lot of the time the people from City Hall sounded like a TV advertisement. Politicians are always promoting themselves and the good they’ve done for people. That’s the same no matter where you are in the world. So I played with the kids and one little girl sat on my lap. They kept picking up various seeds and flowers off the ground and handing them to me. Some of the seeds make a noise like maracas when you shake them. The meeting wasn’t too long and ended around 4:15pm.

We said goodbye to everyone promising to see them tomorrow at the fiesta in Muñoces. The pickup was loaded and off we went. The heat must have gotten to us all because we were especially crazy in the truck on the ride home. I’m not even sure how to describe what was said or what we were doing but something was definitely off. I think we’re all exhausted from the week. The exercise, heat, and varying emotions can take a toll on people.


Nice pillow you have there!

The kids sitting in front of me

She was the one in the hammock with her brother

Big smiles!

Hello there!

Lovely Valentina


Group shot

Listening to the City Hall people talk

Down time for Ceclilia and Blanca

The Directiva of Muñoces

Being sworn in

We got a little cleaned up before dinner and had some spare time to relax. I uploaded my pictures to sort through. We didn’t eat until close to 6pm and by then I had already consumed some pan dulce. Dinner was guisquil relleno which is guiquil stuffed with various vegetables and then coated and fried in egg whites. It’s kind of like a chile relleno but instead of a chile it’s a guisquil. We also had rice, baked potatoes with special cheese, and some apples. The apples were actually really good which surprised me because sometimes they aren’t that great.

After dinner Linda, Warren, Kathy, and Blanca went to discuss finances while Jenny and I went out to the porch area to stuff the four piñatas for the party tomorrow. We had the giant piñatas out and were looking for the hole for the candy but couldn’t find any. I asked Idalia and she looked but couldn’t find any holes either. So I got out a sharp knife and cut small holes in the piñatas so we could put in the candy. We had a great time stuffing the piñatas and as we were on the last one the others came down to see what we were doing. We got a couple great photos with the piñatas and talked about how much fun we’re going to have. It’s going to be a great party tomorrow!

Quote of the Day: “I gave her the hairy eyeball” – Warren said this about some woman he used to know


Look at all that candy!
(Notice the horns above my head- that was a total accident!
There's a headband with horns on it behind me but somehow
they ended up perfectly above my head in the picture)

I told Jenny I didn't have enough pictures of her

The giant piñatas

I love you, Pooh!

Dissection time

Stuffing the, wait...stuffing the Pooh bear

We've got candy and we know how to use it

Kathy loves Pooh too!

Filling the last one

Our new friends

Warren and his ladies

1 comment:

Matt said...

What an amazing day. It's great that you get to experience the cantons from anther delegation's perspective. Those piñatas are great! I'm sure all the kids will love them.