Sunday, April 24, 2016
We have an hour of silence to reflect on our day and what we’ve experienced. I’ve been sitting here now for half an hour trying to think of what to write. I don’t even know how to start. I don’t know where to start. Today has been a long day. I feel like I always say that when I’m in El Salvador. But it’s the truth. This isn’t a vacation for me. This isn’t a “make myself feel good about myself” mission trip. This isn’t a time for me to pat myself on the back for the good work we do. This is reality.
After spending the morning having a 2½ hour meeting, we visited the canton (village) of Corozal in the afternoon. All of the cantons in Berlín face many challenges in everyday life. In the dry season, one of those challenges is where to get water. The spring that used to fill up a cement basin in Corozal has run dry. Only a small amount of water now flows through the spring. At noon we headed out on the 1+ hour drive to Corozal.
We arrived at the basin and find several people there. What struck me the most were the children and young girls. They were standing barefoot in the mud washing their families’ clothes with dirty water. The two young girls were washing the clothes and the two small children helped fill up gaucals (big bowls) with water. The small children were getting dirtier and dirtier as they filled up the guacals, and all I could think was, “Now they’re going to have to wash those clothes as well.” This is reality in El Salvador.
Next we went to the place where the community now has to go to get water. We drove part of the way and then it was a mile trek downhill to the alternate water source. This water wasn’t much better than the first. It was still dirty. The only difference was that there was a little more water. We spent time talking to the people at the water source about their experiences with water and the struggles of having to go to a different place. After a while we made the 1 mile trek back uphill to the truck and headed home.
What’s the first thing I did when I got back to the Pastoral House? I washed my hands and feet with clean water and then I got a drink of purified water. I also plan to shower tonight. Talk about feeling guilty. It has been a challenging day for me as is each day I spend here. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough compassion. I feel like I don’t care enough. I feel greedy and self-centered. Even writing this feels wrong because I’m focusing on myself instead of focusing on others.
That’s where I’m at right now. Thanks for joining me. I think I speak the best through photos. So I’ll stop here. Please take time to look through these photos and contemplate on how your life differs from the people of Corozal.
Empty water tank
The alternate water source
Would you wash you clothes here?
Would you drink water here?
There are fences around the water source so the animals
can't get to it and "dirty" the water with their waste
Very dry fields
My very dirty feet