It poured down rain this afternoon in Berlín. It’s May and we’ve had the Day of the Cross so the rainy season has officially begun. I love the smell of the rain and the wet earth. And I love the sound that rain makes when it hits the roof and listening to the storm roll in. There’s something soothing about thunderstorms that seems to make me feel relaxed. I’m not sure if I’ll be saying that once the rainy season is in full swing but for now I’ll enjoy the rain.
It was still raining at 2:00pm when we were supposed to drive the Alejandría to do the rosary with the community. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to make it to the rosary but we decided we’d try. You see, there’s an area that we had to pass through in Alejandría that turns into a small “river” when it rains. Trucks can’t pass through and oftentimes neither can people. But we decided we’d go check it out. If we couldn’t get across then we couldn’t get across. It hadn’t been raining that hard so we figured there was a chance we could make it across.
Along the way I saw the streets filled with water. And it wasn’t even raining that hard. As we got to the cantons I could see that the drainage of water is a major problem in the roads. There were mini-floods in the roads that we had to drive through. Even though I’ve been to El Salvador during the rainy season and have seen the amount of water that accumulates I was still surprised by all the water I saw.
When we reached Alejandría we parked the truck at a place in the road where other trucks would be able to pass by if they needed to. Then we walked to check out the conditions of the river. A couple women from the community joined us and helped carry things. When we got to the river we saw that there was a lot of water, but since it hadn’t been raining too hard we decided it might be crossable. The ladies all talked about whether or not to wait to see if the water would go down.
Eventually, someone decided that it was time to cross. Elmer and Idalia went in first to help pass things across. Then, one by one, everyone starting going across. We all took off our shoes because we didn’t want to slip on the rocks under the water as we crossed. The small children were carried across by members of the community. Being an avid outdoors person and spending a lot of time “creek-walking” as a kid I wasn’t worried about getting across. But someone took my arm to help me out. Not wanting to be rude I accepted the help. We all made it across fine and put our shoes back on to climb up the rocky hill to Blanca’s house.
At the turnoff to Alejandria
River in the road
That's a lot of water
A big puddle ahead
Carrying the corn
They switched sides. Smart!
Going down to check out the river
There's Balmore on the other side
That's a lot of water
Taking the food across
The food made it across. That's good.
Now the people
And the children
Walking up the hill
Most everyone else had arrived by the time we got there so we were able to begin on time. The rosary was the same recitations and songs as with the other rosaries. But I don’t get bored and really enjoy listening to people. Today during the homily part of the rosary Balmore talked about following the Lord and the work of the Lord. It’s not always easy to follow the Lord and sometimes we are too individualistic, working only for ourselves. But we must work together for the common good.
One of the works of God is truth and justice and that work will prevail. Oscar Romero is a good example of this. He was killed over 30 years ago but his work and efforts have grown and continue to grow. Because no one can stop the work of God. We are united through this work. It may be hard to follow God’s work at time, but we must remember that no work is easy. If we remember God we will be able to accomplish a great deal.
Since today it was the Pastoral House’s turn to host the rosary Kathy and I had made cookies. We had chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies for everyone. The ladies had also made elote, which is like sweetcorn. And then we all had some hot chocolate. Delicious! The ladies bought to chocolate fresh this morning and this afternoon it was made into hot chocolate for everyone. It was so good that I actually had seconds. I tried to pretend like I’d only had one cup but no one believed me. I’m not sure why.
Set up for the rosary
After the rosary was over it was time to head back to Berlín. We hugged everyone goodbye and walked back to the car. The “river” was much lower since the rain had stopped and easier to cross. Deciding I didn’t want to have an accident stepping on the wet rocks I took off my shoes and walked through the water again. Much easier. Blanca and Idalia had brought flowers from the house so we could stop by the cemetery to put some flowers by Blanca’s grandmothers’ graves since she didn’t have a chance to get there on Mother’s Day.
I’ve been to the cemetery before but I forgot how crowded it is and how cemeteries here compare with cemeteries in the US. Here they are far more colorful and they seem to be able to fit more people into the cemeteries than in the US. The area is overgrown in parts with weeds. I’m not sure how often they get in there to cut the weeds or if they do that at all. I’m thinking it’s probably all done by hand and with machetes. Also, when people are taking the old decorations off the graves they often put them on the ground. I’m guessing someone comes to clean the cemetery every once and a while and picks up the old decorations and flowers off the ground.
The first grave was close to the front so we didn’t have to walk far. The ladies cleaned off the area and put the fresh flowers on the grave. The second grave was further away. We had to walk around graves, and sometimes on graves, to get there. There were a lot of weeds on the ground and I was glad I wore long pants so my legs didn’t get all scratched up. We eventually made it to the second grave and put the new flowers there as well. As we walked back to the car we looked at all the other flowers that had been put out for Mother’s Day. It was fun looking at all the ways people had decorated the graves with the flowers.
My day in a nutshell: Though my morning did not get off to a good start for several reasons it certainly ended well and for that I am grateful. There is light after the storm.
Not as much water this time
Also, that's a machete in his right hand
Using her umbrella cane
Decorating Blanca's & Cecilia's grandmother's grave
Her grandmother's name was Evangelista
Walking to the next grave
Lots of graves were decorated
This one was very ornate
Looking across the cemetery
Walking through the weeds
There's a lot of stuff on the ground
Fake flowers as well
Golondrina flowers on the grave
There was a hole in the ground.
But this vault was empty
Decorating her other grandma's grave
Several people are buried here
Lots of flowers
The ladies liked the yellow roses
Lobster claw flowers