This morning I visited the school where I taught English in 2011. I was accompanied by the delegation. It was wonderful to be back and see all the teachers again. I even saw some of my former students. The first thing we did when we arrived was go to the teacher’s lounge area. I said hi to everyone and people took at ton of photos. The delegation had the chance to ask questions to learn more about the school. We took some more pictures and then went to visit several classes. We introduced ourselves to the students and asked them a couple questions. But soon an hour had passed and it was time to go. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone and we left a little late. But I think it was worth it.
Then we piled back into the pickup and headed off. Today we visited a different community, the community of Cimarrón. It took a while to get there and the truck broke down temporarily so we had to use someone else’s pickup. We unloaded and loaded up again. We arrived in the community around 10am and met first with the community and members of the Directiva. Everyone introduced themselves and expressed thanks for the projects Westminster has helped with in the past. They were also incredibly grateful for our visit and especially pleased that we planned to walk to each house in the community.
When we finished the brief meeting it was time to put up the piñata. The community had everything ready and the kids gathered round to watch. Several kids swung away at the piñata. It lasted quite a while until one little boy finally broke it open. Everyone rushed to get some candy. Even the adults. Cecilia made sure that everyone got some candy. We said goodbye to people as they headed back to their houses.
Next was a meeting with just the Directiva. They were extremely pleased that we’d come to visit, especially since no one else typically visits them in their community. The community has few resources and doesn’t receive any help from NGOs. They also talked about the weather and how much it has impacted their crops and their lives. They’re not sure what is going to happen but they are giving it up to God. Hopefully He will bless people with rain. Please continue praying for rain.
The Directiva also discussed the health of people in the community. There are a lot of injuries and falls plus a lot of people with diarrhea and vomiting. Dengue and other mosquito transmitted illnesses are a danger to everyone. Many times all people can do is drink a lot of water and rest. This is not an easy task for people who live so far away from a water source and who farm for a living. When someone does get sick, they usually don’t have medication and it is difficult to get to a clinic or hospital. They also lack the financial resources to pay for medicine or visits to a clinic. It is an extraordinarily difficult situation.
One man in the community broke his back about a month ago. He spent 14 days in the hospital only to have them discharge him because they didn’t have what he needed for surgery and his family couldn’t afford to buy those things for him. He may never be able to walk again. Please keep him in your prayers.
After the meeting we began walking house to house. We divided up into groups again and headed off. We walked to many houses and presented ourselves as we’d done yesterday. Everyone was gracious and invited us into their homes. The families expressed much thanks for the visit and for the help they’ve received from Westminster. One family gave us a large bag of mamones (a kind of fruit). They also had a bunny that they let us hold.
Soon it was time for lunch. We feasted on a delicious vegetable soup, rice, and chicken. I also had a tasty mango refresco with my meal. We chatted and rested for a while before getting started again walking. We made our way to the last few houses by traipsing down the mountain even further. Going down the trails is still a challenge but I think I’m improving. We reached the last house and then made out way back to the pickup truck. We said goodbye to the Cimarrón Directiva who had accompanied us and then were one our way home.
It has been another amazing day.
With some of the teachers at the boy's school
Driving to Cimarron
Meeting some of the community and Directiva
Sitting in the back of the pickup
Some new fruit we tried
Holding a bunny from someone's house
Hiking through corn fields
This man has been sick for a while
A very dry corn field
Our truck broke down momentarily but the guys fixed it