Sunday, February 20, 2011

Usulután & Corozal

Saturday, 2-19-11

It was a fun day with a new delegation. We ate breakfast this morning around 7:30 and were out the door for Usulután at 8:30. We had to make a stop at a hardware store, a ferretería, to buy tools for the Newton delegation to take door-to-door in the canton of Muñoces. They were specifically looking to buy a piocha, which is kind of like a pickaxe, for every family. We also brought David with us who is from the canton of El Corozal. He was picking out tile for the floor of the new church that is being built in El Corozal.

On the way to Usulután I was standing in the back of the truck with Warren, Cecilia, and David. Warren speaks pretty good Spanish so the four of us were talking on and off. At one point Warren was asking David what part of the cow he liked the best to eat. Then he proceeded to ask David, “Qué parte del perro te gusta más?” which means, “What part of the dog do you like the most?” What he meant to ask was, “Qué parte del pollo te gusta más?” which means “What part of the chicken do you like the best?” After we all realized what he said we all started laughing and making jokes. Of course, we all continued to joke about it for the rest of the day.

We got to the hardware store a little after 8:30am and went inside to look around. Linda, Warren, Jenny, and Kathy looked at the pickaxes while Cecilia and David looked at tile. The Newton group purchased the axes and we spent some time looking at tile. There were lots of options and so many kinds of beautiful tile that it was hard for David to choose. He, Cecilia, and Kathy spent some time comparing prices and looking at different pieces of tile.

Meanwhile, Warren, Jenny, a store employee, and I went on a mini hunt around Usulután to see if we could find a store that sold camera batteries or chargers. Jenny forgot her camera charger so we were hoping to find one. Unfortunately, it was not to be. But we did have a good time looking around the city. When we got to the last store the guy who was showing us around turned to Jenny and I and told us to see if we could find our way back. We hadn’t exactly been paying attention because we were talking. But we were able to navigate the four of us through the streets to get back to the store.

We got back to the store and made a quick pit stop before heading to the cathedral in town to look for a statue for the church in Corozal. We took the opportunity to look around inside the church. I love looking visiting churches in different cities and countries. Every one of them is so beautiful in their own way. Kathy and Cecilia weren’t able to find a statue the right size but they found the right style so they took a picture of it. We were back on the road by 11am.

We got stopped in Santiago de Maria for a while because of a traffic jam, which is not uncommon in El Salvador. Traffic rules seem to be mere suggestions rather than laws here. Cecilia and I took advantage of the jam to hop out of the truck to find some pan dulce (sweet bread) for sale. Cecilia knew exactly where to go and shortly we had about 6 small bags of pan dulce. We headed back to the truck which had finally made it out of the traffic jam.

Barbara taking a little bath

A ferret store!

Apparently, they sell hardware things at a ferretería

Nice piocha

They even had tile with people on it

The Virgin of Carmen

Supplies in the store

The church in Usulután

The front altar

My new ferretería bag that the woman there gave each of us

Lunch today was chicken, pasta salad, carrots, green beans, guisquil (like squash), and pipian (also like squash). We took our time eating lunch and then headed out for the canton of El Corozal at 1:30pm. It take a little over an hour to get to the church and it was a very dusty ride. I knew I was going to need a shower when we got back to the Pastoral House. My pants and hair were saturated with dust and it was sticking to the sweat on my legs and arms. That’s life in the cantons for you.

The church is looking absolutely beautiful. Since last week they have finished the floor, walls, and are currently working on the ceiling. It is going to be even more spectacular when it’s completely finished. We stayed for almost 45 minutes chatting with the workers and looking at the church. I played around with some of the little boys in the church. One didn’t want to have his picture taken so was he running away from me and peeking around the corner at me (all in good fun). The other boys were trying to get him to be in a picture. They were being very silly.

At 3:15 we said goodbye to the workers and walked to David & Vilma’s house nearby. This was my second visit to their house and it was just as delightful as the first one. Vilma greeted us with big hugs and once again I laid down in a hammock under the amate tree. David made a quick run to someplace or someone’s house in town and bought us all soda and cookies. They are extremely friendly, hospitable people so I was glad I got to see them again. And before I knew it I had fallen asleep again. The rest of the group spent some time talking to two young boys who followed us from the church, though I think Jenny may have closed her eyes a bit too.

I woke up refreshed and everyone asked me if I’d had a nice nap. It was a wonderful nap. I think I’m getting better at this napping business. Usually, when I’m in the US, I try not to nap at all during the day because otherwise I have a hard time getting to sleep at night. But I’ve been sleeping very well here lately. That’s probably because I’m more physically exhausted after each day than I am in the states.


Heading to Corozal

The church from the road below

The new church!

It now has a floor, walls, and roof

Looking inside

One of the kids we were playing with

It's looking great

Warren and his new buddies

Chatting with the workers

This guy lives next door

Playing with the kids

This little girl was watching us


A horse loaded with jugs for water

Walking to David & Vilma's house

The kids that came with us are very strong

Vilma & Blanca talking

What's wrong, Kathy?

Who's taking pictures of me?

The two young boys

Nice & comfortable

Some dogs playing in the leftover corn husks

At 4:45 we hugged Vilma and David goodbye and started for home. We picked up a young couple and their two children on our way back and took them to Berlín. Their youngest son fell asleep on his mother’s lap almost as soon as he got into the truck. We also picked up a lot more dust. I washed off my face, arms, and legs and changed pants when we got back so I could sit down on the chairs without covering them in a layer of dust. I’m definitely going to take a shower tonight. Well, a dump shower. There’s no running water tonight; only every other day for a few hours each morning. But it will feel nice to have clean hair.

Additionally, I ran into a wall tonight and bruised the back of my arm. Not sure how I managed to accomplish that feat. I think I may have a touch of vertigo. I feel like I’m gently spinning or moving from side to side. My mom has it sometimes so I may have inherited that from her. Thank you, mom! Thankfully, Jenny had some bruise cream and Linda is going to do some sort of inner ear thing with me tomorrow that might help (she use to be a physical therapist). Fingers crossed. My capacity to do things kind of depends on my ability to walk. I guess that’s life!

We spent time after dinner doing devotionals and reflecting on the day. Warren made a good point tonight during reflection. He talked about the distinction between the house that’s right next to the new church in Corozal. Well, it’s sort of a “house.” Most homes in the cantons are not what we in the US would consider “houses.” The walls are made of corrugated metal, wood, or if you’re really lucky, cement blocks. The floors are usually dirt and the ceiling might leak during the rainy season. But the dreams these people have for their churches is unbelievable. And not just the people in Corozal, but people in many communities I’ve visited take great pride in their churches.

It made me think more about the contrast between having a beautiful church and having a beautiful house. Would people from the US, and would I, put having a beautiful church above having a beautiful home? I don’t know. I am very fortunate because Westminster is a gorgeous church with a grand pipe organ and huge stained glass windows. My future house will probably pale in comparison. Now, I’m not saying that people here or people in the US who don’t have huge, fancy churches don’t care about their church. That’s absolutely untrue. It’s the spirit and hope behind the people of the church that really makes a church shine. And thinking about what I would choose really makes me consider my priorities in life.


Larry said...

I cannot believe the progress on the church since we were there last week. It really looks nice. Lorenzo

Matt said...

The church in Usulután is really beautiful and I'm sure the one in El Corozal will be amazing when it is finished.