09 September 2009

Celebration in San Francisco

I slept reasonably well…except for the cats caterwauling in the space outside the bedroom window all night. It rained last night just before bedtime and probably in the night as well, since everything is wet this morning. But, hey, there’s running water today so, Hot Showers, Yay!

Here's a showerhead. There's a heating element inside the head powered by the electric box on the wall. It's on-demand hot water...but it only works if there is water to the shower head.
If there's no running water, you scoop water out of the pila with the plastic pan and pour it over your head. When there is running water, you fill the pila from the wall spigot.

Jane and I were up around 5:30. I turned on the spigot for the main pila (like a cement stock tank, it holds all the water for dishes and the like between running-water days) and the one in our bathroom. I turned on the hot water pot and Jane made real coffee when she got out of the shower.

Cecilia was up and starting breakfast for us around 6. Pancakes today!

We dressed for the celebration and found that we all were wearing stuff we’d bought here. My orange dress, Lynn’s embroidered tunic, Alisha’s pink shirt, Jane (and most of us) in El Sal earrings. Only Michael didn’t have Salvadoran items to wear so I loaned him the leather bracelet I got at Puerto del Diablo, since he didn’t want to let us pierce his ears. The wuss… :-)

The decorated church before the celebration Mass started.

A group of boys at the window by my chair.

The crowd of people inside (and outside) the church waiting for Mass to begin.

The bishop blessing the structure with holy water.

We rode to San Francisco in the back of the pickup and picked up more people en route. At the church, the band started playing around 9:30, welcome was at 10 and the Mass started shortly after. After the mass was a short ceremony and ribbon cutting. Then they cut the ribbon into small pieces and everyone there was given a little piece to pin to their shirt like a miniature Salvadoran flag.

There were these guys with big firework things…cohetes...like bottle rockets only about 4 feet long and home-made of bamboo and paper and whatever the zoom and bang parts were. They blew off a bunch of them when the Bishop arrived and periodically after that. I got some pictures from my seat by the window of them fooshing upward but I wanted a close up picture of the rocket itself to see if it was as home-made as it looked from the window. After the Mass, I tracked down Miguel (the elder) and asked where the fireworks guys went…I wanted a picture. He tracked them down and one came back to the church with a rocket in hand.

Rocket man with a bundle of cohetes.

I have a healthy respect for all fireworks. They’re impressive and fun but I also know they’re very dangerous. These guys were holding the rocket part of the thing with one hand) while lighting the fuse with the other and letting go when it started to lift off. All I could think was, “My God, what if it doesn’t go up before going off…”

We went to the school for lunch with the bishop and various dignitaries then had another meeting with the directiva at 1:30. After the meeting, we went to view the water tank/filter project that Foneas (a local NGO in cooperation with the French government) is piloting in the community.

We went back to the Casa. As we were regrouping, I realized I’d lost the coconut shell part of one of my earrings. Having stood in the back of the pickup on the way home, earrings flapping in the wind, I could have lost it anywhere. On a remote, off-chance I checked the bed of the pickup…and got lucky. It was there! I borrowed Kathy’s needlenose pliers and fixed it.

The pan dulce (sweet bread) lady came around 4:00 (as she does every day) and we hit it hard. We decided that we wanted more of the cookies so Ceci walked us up to the bakery where the pan dulce and cookies come from. Michael bought a bag of the heart cookies…probably at least 2 dozen…for $1.25. Lynn got some chocolate-cookie center things…6 for 60-cents.

Kathy, Jane, Michael and I sat around the table nibbling goodies and talking about filter projects, relations with the Alcaldia (mayor’s office), youth groups, etc. When we sit around talking, there’s just no telling what subject may come up.

Supper was tacos from a restaurant on the corner of the square.

After supper I finished the book I’d started on the plane and got a book from Kathy’s stash. She likes to read and when delegations visit they often leave books with her to read. This was one of those. She’d finished it and liked it and it was on my Books To Read list so I was happy to get it…Friday Night Knitting Club.

Alisha broke out a Loteria game she brought (Mexican word bingo game…in Spanish). We started playing and Otilia’s 14-year-old daughter, Veronica, wanted to play too so we got her set up and started a new game. Eventually it was all of us plus Otilia and Kathy playing. It was great to have a game that everyone, young and old, Spanish and English speaking, could play together.

After Loteria, Kathy brought out a trabalenguas (tongue-twisters in Spanish) book and we took turns reading them aloud. Cecilia didn’t play Loteria or trabalenguas…El Salvador was playing Costa Rica in soccer and she was glued to the TV. However, there was no doubt when El Salvador scored. You could hear the whole barrio cheer.

We had a discussion with Jane, Michael, Kathy and me about the directiva meeting and the new youth group in San Francisco. Lots of exciting stuff going on!