Monday, June 6, 2011

Corn delivery

Monday, 6-6-11

This afternoon we delivered corn to the canton of San Lorenzo. Each family was getting 90 pounds of corn as a gift from their partnership in the US. Corn is a main staple here and is used to make several important foods like tortillas, pupusas, tamales, and atole (atole is a hot, thick drink made from corn). Tortillas especially are important and eaten on a daily basis here. If you served lunch to someone and did not include tortillas people would think you’re crazy.

Many people are in desperate need of corn this year because the harvest last year was very poor. Right before it was time to harvest the corn and beans heavy rain came and wiped out a lot of the crops. This is a huge worry especially since people rely on the crops to feed their families. Many people do not have enough corn and beans to make it through the year and will end up buying them to feed their family instead of relying on their own farms. Thus, this was an important gift.

We left around 2:30pm to pick up the corn from someone’s house where it was being stored. The big truck came from El Tablón to haul the corn. Several people from San Lorenzo came by the house to load the bags of corn onto the big truck. There were even two women who helped load the 90 pound bags into the truck. Wow! Before we knew they had loaded up everything and we were on our way to San Lorenzo. It’s a short 15 minute ride to the canton.

When we arrived the Directiva and most of the community was waiting for us. People got things unloaded and the Directiva got things ready as the rest of the people arrived. Soon everyone was there and we were ready to start. The process was the same as when we deliver fertilizer, water tanks, or food packets. Someone from each family is called to sign for their corn. If the person can’t sign then they put their fingerprint on the paper. There is a lot of illiteracy in the cantons.

The process went very smoothly and everyone ended up with their bag of corn. Toward the end it started to rain a bit so things were finished under the roof of the church. I also got to see Otilia’s two little pericos (parrots) that I met last year. I remember when she brought them to the house last year and I got to feed them watermelon juice. I took tons of pictures with those birds. As I’m sure you can tell, I really love animals. So it was good to see the birds again.

Loading corn onto the truck

She's lifting 90 pounds of corn

They make it look so easy

Another woman! Yay!

This almost looks one handed

Almost done

It's all been loaded

Driving to San Lorenzo

Now time to unload

Setting it by the church

Gettings things ready to sign

Listening to the President of the Directiva

It's a grand sight

Gathered around

Signing time

Waiting to be called

Sitting on her corn

Holding Otilia's two little birds that I met last year

Before we left we stopped by Emma’s house. She invited me up to see her guatusa! I was really excited! A guatusa is an agouti which is a type of rodent native to Central and South America. I’ve seen a guatusa twice here before but they run so fast that I’ve never been able to get a picture of one. Plus I’ve wanted to see one in real life since I was a little girl. The guatusa was in a cage and moved around a lot so it was hard to get a picture of her. But when the guatusa came up to the front of the cage I did touch her nose. Emma said she ate anything so I made sure she didn’t eat my fingers. When we found out she didn’t have a name and someone came up with the name Pepa. So her name is now Pepa.

We waved goodbye to Emma and her family as we drove off. It was pouring down rain by the time we got home. Someone had sent us home with tamales and atole (both made from corn) for us to enjoy. Sipping the hot atole and listening to the rain was a good way to end the afternoon. It’s been a good day.

Emma's guatusa!!

Very cute!

Internet photo of a guatusa (agouti)


Anonymous said...

That process looks familiar. I love the picture of all the corn piled up in front of the church. The guatusa is pretty cute.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic, the importance of the corn in Salvador. I'm Alex the catalan guy that you knew in Casa Antigua.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The corn picture in front of the church is great -- says it all. I'm glad you finally got to see a guatusa! Mom