Today was Nancy and Sue’s last day in El Salvador. They came down a week ago as members of the Compañeros group to meet with the Pastoral Team, help with bean deliveries, and have some meetings with different communities. It was a long week and we were busy every day. We had 5 formal meetings that lasted 14 hours in total. I played note taker during the meetings and took 54 pages of notes. We delivered beans to 13 different communities throughout the week. And on Tuesday we spent 10 hours in the pickup driving across the country to La Palma and El Pital.
I was supposed to walk to the cross today with Sue, Mauricio (Ceci’s brother), Elmer (Ceci’s son), their friend Geovany from Alejandria, and Yanira and Patricia from San Francisco who are two of my community English class students. The cross is at the top of a very steep hill. You start at 3280 feet and climb to 4500 feet. So it’s a nice 1220 foot climb to the top. I woke up sick and asked if they could wait an hour until I was feeling better. They did and after an hour I felt better. So we got a group picture and then headed off. We met Niwman, who is also from San Francisco and a community English class student, in town on our way to the path.
About 15 minutes later I started feeling really sick. I decided it was time for me to turn around and walk back home. Niwman offered to walk home with me. So off we went. I was sad because I really wanted to walk to the cross with the group. I haven’t been there since last year and want to go there sometime this year. I also felt bad that I made everyone wait an hour and then I didn’t end up going and that Niwman didn’t get to go to the cross. But he actually stayed at the Pastoral House to help verify some names on the bean list for San Francisco which was helpful to Cecilia and Blanca.
I managed to get in a quick shower since the water was still running and then went to my room to lie down. I became sick in my room but thankfully had a trashcan nearby. I dozed off and on until 1pm when Kathy came in to ask how I was feeling. I still wasn’t feeling great and therefore missed the final Pastoral Team meeting. I was upset about missing the meeting but didn’t think I could make it through the meeting. So I fell back asleep in my room.
Around 5:30pm it was time to go to Alegría to eat dinner. This is the custom on the last day a delegation is here. I decided to go with the group because I was feeling better and if I didn’t go then someone from the team would probably have stayed home with me. The ride went well in the pickup which was a good sign. When we got to the restaurant I wanted my usual, the shrimp, but decided that it probably wouldn’t sit well in my stomach. So I got chicken instead. I also wanted a beer but thought that too was a bad idea. I chose water since my body was dehydrated.
A man and four boys came to our table and offered to play songs for us. I recognized two of the songs they sang: “El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido” and “Casas de Cartón.” The 13-year old boy (we asked his age) had an incredible voice. When they’d finished we bought a couple CDs from them and thanked them for the songs. Not long after that the food arrived. We chatted and enjoyed our meal together. Then we rode back home in the cool, evening air. It had been a long and productive week.
Before the walk to the cross
Sue's picture at the cross
There's the group
The city is in the background
The group of guys singing for us in Alegria
Here we are
Nancy got this picture of only the food. Mmmm!