Today we went to a special mass and celebration in El Recreo. We loaded up the trucks and were off by 12:30pm. When we arrived I learned that several of the ladies from St. Boniface had brought nail polish with them to paint the girls’ nails. What a cool idea! Several kids were nearby so they asked the kids if they wanted their nails done. We sat down and started painting. They’d brought all sorts of colors: pink, yellow, blue, orange, green sparkles. After several of the girls had their nails done someone suggested that the girls paint our nails. They seemed to enjoy this just as much. Soon we all had beautiful nails. One girl started to embellish our nails with green sparkles, stripes, and French tips. Then all the kids were doing it. Shorty after that the women of the community came over to get their nails done as well. How amazing that a simple bottle nail polish was able to bring together the girls and women in the community with the ladies from St. Boniface.
The church in El Recreo
Ella painting nails
Maggie is now a nail artist
Jeannie's a nail polish pro
Donna's painting away
Letting them dry
Getting her nails done by the girl
Yellow with pink tips! Love it!
The guys working on masks with
the kids inside the church
Not long after that I got summoned into the kitchen to help prepare food. The women of the Pastoral Team are always cooking with women from the communities for big events like this. Today we were preparing food for 500 people. That’s right, 500 people. We were having toasted plantains, pan dulce, and a kind of Salvadoran hot dog. The toasted plantains were bought ahead of time as was the pan ducle, but we had to make the hot dogs/sandwiches. I started out helping to take the “wrapper” off of each hot dog. Other people sliced the hot dogs in half and they were taken outside to be fried up. More women were cutting all the bread in half. Others were preparing the lettuce curtido for the hotdogs.
Once all that was done it was assembly time. This was the tedious part and the part that took the longest. The bread was put into a giant guacal (plastic tub). From there, Cecilia put a hot dog into each “bun.” Someone else added the curtido (lettuce with sauce) to the hot dog. Another women added mayonnaise and ketchup to each hot dog. I wrapped it all up in a wax paper sheet and set it in another guacal. This wasn’t too bad at first and kind of enjoyable. We were all chatting as we assembled the hot dogs. But after about 30 minutes it got a little tiring. I saw we were getting down on the bread and thought we were done. Nope. Someone added more bread to the first guacal and we made more. I thought of what it must be like to work on an assembly line and decided that if I had to do that kind of work all day I would go insane. I didn’t get take any pictures during this time because my hands were covered in ketchup, mayonnaise, curtido, and hot dog juice. Mmmm.
Eventually we finished assembling the hot dogs. At the same time we were doing that other people were plating up all the food and then putting it all into a black, plastic bag (that’s just how they do things here). So I joined in on that process for a while. We finally finished and were able to relax. I ended up missing the entire mass which was kind of a bummer but I really enjoyed my time in the kitchen with the ladies. I have so much more respect for the work that they do, especially the grunt work. The grunt work is what no one else sees and we never realize how hard it is because they make everything go so smoothly. I was grateful to be able to have a better understanding of the efforts exerted by the team whenever we participate in celebrations in the cantons.
Shortly after we finished people had started to come out of the church. It was time to serve the food. Everyone in the community had gotten a ticket that they’d exchange for food. I stood inside the little kitchen to help pass out plates of food, pan dulce, and a drink to everyone. Several of the delegates stood outside to help hand the food to the people, collect tickets, and keep things in line outside. First the girls came up, then the boys, followed by the women in the community, and finally the men. It didn’t go as smoothly as we’d hoped but everything got handed out. We were getting low on food so we had to make sandwiches part way through. We nearly ran out of food at the end so the women who were inside working didn’t really get to eat much for lunch; they always want to make sure others have food before them. Yet another sacrifice that the Team makes that we sometimes don’t see.
Margarita starting the fire for the hot dogs
Inside the kitchen
A ton of bread
Taking a rest
Some of the plates
A bite of nances (kind of fruit)
Gathered outside the church
Getting ready for lunch
I heard the youth group performing again and was able to get out to watch the end of their performance. I didn’t catch what it was all about but it involved a fight between two different tribes. It was another amazing performance and one that I hadn’t seen before. In the end the two remaining people ended up “killing” each other. The dying leader of the second tribe deliberately exaggerated his dying scene which was hilarious. Everyone applauded and the actors took a bow. We were able to spend a little more time with the community chatting before we had to leave. Overall, it was a good day and very interesting to spend time in the background instead of being up front with the delegation. I enjoyed being able to accompany the delegation and learn more about their partnership with the community, but I also like being able to work as a part of the Pastoral Team as well.