Today we visited the community of Las Delicias to deliver 5 packets of food to older individuals. The pastoral committee of Las Delicias had presented a solicitude to the Pastoral Team to get a little food for the people. The committee could see that those individuals were really struggling and wanted to try to help them in some way. Inside the packets were various staples such as rice, sugar, salt, milk, oil, etc. There was also a blanket, soap, detergent, and bleach in another bag.
I was excited to see the community since I’d only been there once before when I was here last year in the spring. To get to Las Delicias you first have to drive through Alejandría, which is a community I know well, and Loma Alta, which I don’t know at all. Cecilia and I were in the bed of the truck and we chatted as we drove along. She showed me where she used to live in Alejandría when she was young. She pointed out where the last house was in Alejandría and the place where they used to pick coffee. Everything was beautiful and green. The sides of the mountain were filled with corn. I hope the fields continue to be plentiful.
Driving to Las Delicias
Looking out over the valley
Lots of corn up ahead
Everything is so green!
El Recreo is down there
Driving by the church in Loma Alta
Flags in the fields to keep away birds
We arrived in Las Delicias around 2:00pm. We ran into Manuel, who is the Delegate of the Word for their community and was waiting to accompany us. With him we walked to the first house. The woman there invited us inside her humble home and pulled out chairs for us. Cecilia presented her with the packet and we stayed to chat for a while. Like many people her age she’s not in good health and doesn’t have much so she was very grateful for the small gift. We didn’t stay very long because we needed to get to the other houses. So we hugged her goodbye and headed back to the road.
When we got back to the pickup I eyed the motorcycle sitting next to it. As we’d pulled up earlier Cecilia told me that I could ride it through the cantons (though she might have been saying that jokingly). The person it belonged to was with Manual and came into the first house with us so I assumed he’d be accompanying us as well. I asked the ladies if I could go on the motorcycle to the other houses, and they said yes! I’d only ridden a motorcycle once before and that was when I was little so I was really excited.
I hopped up on the motorcycle with Uban while the ladies and Manuel got into the truck. Then we headed off. The canton roads are always bumpy but they’re even worse during the dry season so we weren’t able to go very fast. The fastest we went was 45kph (about 28mph). Since we were going so slowly we were able to chat a little as we rode along. It was definitely an interesting experience. And I discovered that I really like motorcycles. I never thought I’d say that about myself.
About 10 minutes later we arrived at the next home. The woman living there had been very ill and in the hospital recently. Her home was basically one big room. The stove, bed, table, chairs, were all in sight as we walked in. Many homes are like this, except other people often make several rooms from the one big room using bed sheets or plastic tablecloths to divide the big room. You don’t often see people’s beds when you go into their homes because they’re behind a curtain of some kind. After chatting for a while we said goodbye and moved onto the next home.
A spiffy stove inside someone's home
Talking to the first woman, Paula
Handing her the packets
Morro growing on a tree
Behind her are beans drying on the roof
On the motorcycle
Presenting the next packets
Talking to us about her health
Fun on the motorcycle
The older woman wasn’t home at the next house we went to visit. But her granddaughter was there and invited us inside. We explained who we were and handed her the packets. I’m always amazed by the responsibility of the young girls here. They’re often left alone to take care of the house or their younger siblings while the parents or grandparents go to town or off to work. It may sound bad that people are leaving their young children and grandchildren alone but oftentimes there’s no other choice.
The older woman we went to visit at the next house wasn’t home either. Her two granddaughters were there and greeted us. We again explained who we were and gave them the packets. The younger girl accepted one of the bags that was full of the soap and bleach. She wasn’t able to hold it for long but wanted to receive it by herself. After leaving the house Manuel told us that the girls had only recently moved to Las Delicias to live with their grandmother. They had lived out by the airport near San Salvador before but their mom didn’t want them anymore so she gave them to grandma. It’s a very sad but unfortunately all too common story.
At the last house the woman was home so we were able to give her the bags. Her home had recently been constructed although she has lived in Las Delicias for a while. And we discovered that she was Idalia’s catechism teacher when Idalia was young. The woman didn’t remember Idalia (so many students) but Idalia remembered her. It was pretty cool. After a while we said goodbye and walked next door to Manuel’s home.
For the next hour we stayed at Manuel’s house talking to him and his wife, Rosa. She had recently made elote and atol de elote so we all had some. It was delicious and I was excited to have some more atol. We sat around talking about all sorts of things. At one point we talked about the cheese that Rosa makes herself at home. She explained the process to us although I don’t remember it that well. She actually had some cheese in the process of being made and showed us how she separated the solids from the liquid. Then she put it in a bowl for us to take home. Rosa told us we needed to come back out to learn how to make it sometime.
We didn’t get around to leaving until 4:45pm. It was much later than I thought it would be but I had a great time, and I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to get to know the community a little more. Hopefully we’ll make it back there again sometime soon!
Setting down the packets
What happened, Kathy?
A nice-looking retaining wall
A typical canton home
Lots of beautiful plants
Holding onto the packets
Last spin on the moto
Inside her new home
Showing us the stool he made
Stove inside Manuel and Rosa's house