The adventures of El Salvador – day 3
Greetings from El Salvador!
We descended upon the ditches again today for round two of attacking the ditch for the water project. Carlos, the foreman of the project, asked us yesterday what time we will be arriving this morning…”6:45?” He asked? W answered with, “eh, more like 8 or 8:30.” He laughed.
By the time we arrived, there were around 20 people from the community who were already working. Again – we were late…but it worked for us. Right away, Tim and I dove into working with a gentleman named Rolando. We met him initially at church on Sunday. Right away, we stepped into working alongside him. Rolando wielded the pick axe, and we scooped away. I ended up scooping not only for Rolando, but also for a gentleman by the name of Jose. Between the two of them, then Tim stepping in with the axe to give Rolando a break, I was super busy. By the end of the day, we, along with all of the community, reached the end of our goal! We dug ditches all the way to the soccer field, which was our end point!!
Today was really fun for a few other reasons as well. Juliana, Joanne’s little friend from yesterday, came around and hung out with us. She was significantly more open to us today, and even laughed when Tim pulled out his circus acts! After we dug our ditches, we moved further up the job site to help cover ditches that had the pipe in them. Juliana and a few of her friends followed us. As everyone else was scooping dirt back into the ditches, I was walking along the line tramping the soil down. Not long into that, Juliana decided that she wanted to join me. So off we went – jumping all up and down the ditch line, compressing the dirt into the hole. Pretty soon, I picked her up and started running up and down the line with her in my arms. We did that a few times, then I quickly found out a universal rule. What you do with one kid, you have to do with them all. Another little girl who was walking along the road with her mom looked like she wanted to play. Her mom gave me the look of approval, so I grabbed her and began to run. It was so fun! I now know why I ran the half marathon. I ran so that I could run with these kids and not die! Brilliant! Twins was definitely the highlight of my day!
Our home visits today were quite adventurous. In order to get to our first location, we had to make quite the trek. Because of the massive rainstorm last night, the normal road we would have taken to reach the house was extremely muddy. So we took a path which led us down into a little gulley that had a waterfall. On the other side of the gulley, we had an extremely steep climb back up, but it was absolutely beautiful. You will be pleased to know that we all made it, and no one died!
The first family we visited was a lady named Santos, and her brother who was named Juan Pablo. Santos was blind, and lived with her brother. Two years ago, they were gifted with a house from Enlace, which has greatly improved their lives. The land that the house was built on was handed down to Santos through inheritance. She had lived there for her whole life. She was greatly blessed to receive our gift of food, and was glad to pray with us. I stood by her for a hug, and ended up staying there for a few minutes, just enjoying her embrace. It was so delightful!
Our second stop was a little further up the road from Santos and Juan Pablo at a place that was home to a couple by the names of Maria and Nayo. When we presented them with the food, Maria made a wonderful statement. She said, “Without God, we wouldn’t be able to move a finger.” That family was so dependent upon God for their very life – a reality that many of us aren’t too familiar with. The face of gratitude when someone is blessed in direct proportion to their need is something to behold. We have had the privilege of seeing this many times already, and we have only been here a few days!
After hiking down the gulley again (but by a different, not as steep path), we got back in the van and drove down to our third stop. Until today, we had only heard rumors of this stop through Joanne. Apparently, last year the team had met a man who was 101 years old. Today, we had the privilege of meeting this man. His name is Mario. We were welcomed to his house by his “life companion” of 30 years, Maria. The interesting thing about this couple is that they started dating when Mario was 70…and they are still together. We also found out some other information later from pastor Mauricio’s wife, Jani, over dinner, but unfortunately for you, it isn’t necessarily blog friendly. Let’s just say that it was another highlight of the day. Ask me about it later if you really want to know. 😉
Our last stop was a lady named Eleanor Rojas. She is 70 years old, and supports her family. Her house was so old that she didn’t know how old it actually was. Enlace has been trying to work with her to build her a new house, but because she doesn’t have the deed to the property, they can’t. Eleanor was telling us about how her “life companion” isn’t around anymore, and his oldest son, from another relationship, has the deed to the property and isn’t wanting to give it up. Hopefully they will be able to attain the deed soon!
For dinner, Jani and her crew made us a fantastic dinner of spaghetti with marinara and garlic toast. Such a comfort food…especially with a cup of exquisite El Salvadorian coffee. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…
I started writing this blog before dinner, since Melissa, our new friend who is from Chicago and has been living in El Salvador for the past year, really wants to play Bananagrams tonight.
Unfortunately, last night’s blog ending wasn’t true. After I finished, we were so tired that we headed straight to bed. But that won’t be so tonight. Bananagrams is on! We just have to get back to the hotel And shower first!
As I am writing now, we are in the van, traveling down extremely bumpy roads on the way out of San Jacinto for the day. I am finding that while it is a challenge, blogging while on bumpy roads isn’t impossible. This is a good thing 🙂
In the middle of our trek home, we stopped for ice cream at the mall. Orturo said that we shouldn’t get ice cream on missions…only prayer and fasting. 😉 but being the good man that he is, we went out for ice cream anyway.
Up next: showers, Bananagrams, and working on a new ditch project in the San Jacinto area tomorrow!
Here are a few more pictures from our day: