Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 4: Meetings and Mountains

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Oh what a day it has been! I started off the day right by getting up at 5:45am. I’m not a morning person and I was up until 11:30pm last night. I think I’m running on pure adrenaline. We ate breakfast and left for the market around 7:30am. I love going to the market so I make sure that I go while I’m here. I bought a ton of fruit to eat since it’s so fresh and delicious. Mangos, passion fruit, mamones, oh my!
We headed out for San Francisco around 9:00am. We picked up the police who accompany us, our second translator, and were on our way. It didn’t take long to get there. We were greeted with applause and music when we entered the church. People sang and played instruments. This went on for quite a while. Then there was an introduction of the Directiva of the community (like a community board). We introduced ourselves as well.
After the welcome ended the piñatas were broken. I stayed inside the church and chatted with a couple people I know. One of my friends, Zulma, has an 8-month year old baby named Kimberly. She is beautiful! I used to teach Zulma English when I lived here in 2011. She was also a part of the church youth group.
Soon people left and we had our meeting with the Directiva of San Francisco. We heard about what has been going well in their community and what hasn’t been going well. They talked about their appreciation for all the projects we’ve helped them with in the past and how happy they were to have us again in their community.
However, they are some things that are not going well in San Francisco. For example, even though it is the rainy season there has been very little rain. This has a huge impact on their corn crops. Most everyone’s corn crops have shriveled up. Other corn crops have been partially eaten by bugs. The families have to be very careful about how much corn they consume. Most only have 2-3 months of corn left. They are praying and hoping for a productive bean harvest in a few months. A corn shortage also means they don’t have corn to sell right now to buy basic necessities like salt, oil, rice, and sugar. This means families might have to do without.
Please pray for rain in San Francisco and Berlin.
Lunch was served around 12:30pm. We feasted on meat patties, rice, tortillas, veggies, and avocados. Simple and delicious. Then we were off to visits families house to house. I managed to get hit on the head by a mango on the truck ride there. It’s left a decent sized bump on my head. Not good. I need to do a better job of ducking when I’m in the back of the pickup.
At each house we visited we explained that we were going house to house to visit people and ask about their latrines. For those without latrines or those whose latrines are old or broken, we made a note so we can turn this information into the Directiva. The Directiva will then compile a list and those on the list will receive new latrines from the funds being raised by Westminster. We also presented a gift of a blanket to each family and took a picture of them in front of their home.
The last families we visited lived 1 kilometer down the mountain. It was a long and steep kilometer. Very slick and dusty as well. I may have slipped a couple times, but I’m proud to say I never fell. After what seemed hours we finally reached the bottom. We visited the families and they were very grateful that we’d come to visit, especially because it was such a hike. They said not a lot of people come to visit them because of how far away they live.
After we visited the families it was time to head back up the mountain. Not fun at all. I did this hike in 2013 and remembered how terrible it was. My calf muscles burned as I struggled to make my way up. I was tired, thirsty, sweaty, and out of breath. As I stopped to take a break, one of the Salvadorans who accompanied us explained how the woman at the very bottom of the hill makes this climb carrying loads of bananas and avocados with her. Wow! I decided at that point that if I lived here I would probably die of hunger and thirst, because there’s no way I could make that climb as often as they do.  It was a very humbling and slightly embarrassing experience.
We celebrated when we made it to the top, and headed back to the Pastoral House. It was a long, difficult, but also joyous day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Musical welcome

Introduction by the president of the Directiva

Some of the Directiva

Many members of the community

Lots of people

So beautiful!

The meeting is finished!

The church in San Francisco


The front of the church

Going door to door


The kids here were a little shy

One of the houses in San Francisco

Spectacular view

Holding the blanket she received

In front of their house

Lots of walking

It was quite a hike to this house

Snuggled together

The family at the bottom of the hill

The kids were a little shy

Talking to the families

This older gentleman lives alone after his wife died

The man in the picture is part of the Directiva

Walking back up the hill

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