08 September 2009

Painting, rain, rain, rain, and rain

I woke around 11:30 last night and saw light around the bedroom door. All lights are supposed to be off and the doors bolted before we go to bed so I got up to check it out. All the house lights were on and the front door was open. I was momentarily concerned until I heard voices and followed them to find Alisha and Michael out on porch talking.

I went back to bed. I didn’t sleep nearly as well as last night but not bad. I woke up around 5 to a strange noise. I took out an earplug to better identify it and it turned out to be a torrential downpour. I took out the other earplug and lay there listening to the storm. The power went off briefly but that didn’t repeat.

After a while I got up and went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Then I “showered”…no running water today. I’m kind of headachy this morning. The bed is still a bit saggy in the middle and uphill on the edges. I should do some yoga…but probably won’t.

Did! And it did help.

After breakfast, we went to San Francisco and cleaned the doors and windows of the church in preparation for painting them. Then we met with the Directiva (town council) while things dried.

We had brought the paint and brushes with us from the Casa…2 gallons of cerulean blue, oil-based paint and 4 or so brushes. We hadn’t, however, brought drop cloths or tarps or paper with us to protect the floor. And since it’s a brand new, tile floor and the celebration is tomorrow, we have to be really, really careful about getting paint on it.

People in the community scrounged around and got some newpapers and paper sheets that we could use. Since the floors were wet from the washing, we also got some boards to put on the floor. Then we could put the paper on the boards and keep it dry so we could move it from spot to spot if we needed to since we were a little short on paper.

Miguel thinned the paint (I don’t know why) and poured it into smaller containers and we started to work in groups. I worked on a window with Jane and a woman named Jesica. Jesica held the paint container for me and Jane kept the window from swinging so that it stayed in place over the papers we’d put down. The thinned paint didn’t cover very well and was extra drippy. It was really hard to do a good job.

I don't have any pictures of this because my hands were all covered with paint.

While we were painting it started raining again. As I may have mentioned, it doesn’t just rain in El Salvador, it POURS. The church has a metal roof and with the torrent hitting it, the sound inside the church was deafening. Pretty much all non-essential conversation ceased for a while.

The original plan was that Blanca would make our lunch and bring it to us in one of the moto-taxis that zip around town. However, they have a really hard time making it up the mountain if the road is wet. After all that rain…it was wet. So we had to go back to Berlin for lunch.

Luckily, about the time we were done painting and it was time to head back to Berlin for lunch (1:00-ish), the rain stopped so we didn’t have to get soaked in the back of the pickup on the way back. We took a couple of women and several children with us. They needed medicine for one of the kids and hitching a ride with us saved them the 45-minute walk.

For lunch, we had hamburgers, macaroni salad, veggies (carrots, green beans, and a couple types of squash-like things…all whatever was available from vendors at the market that day), and watermelon.

After lunch, Kathy and Blanca went to pick up the flowers for the celebration tomorrow. It rained again while they were gone but not quite a torrential downpour this time.

While they were gone, Alisha and I did some yoga. I told her about some of the partner or group poses we’d done in my yoga classes and she was intrigued. I know I’ve seen a book somewhere that was called something like “Yoga for Two” but I don’t remember any specifics. After that, Jane, Lynn, Mily, Alisha and I sat on the porch and chatted while waiting for Kathy and Blanca to come back.

By the time Kathy came back, they decided it was late enough that it was going to be a very quick trip to San Francisco instead of the more-extended, help-decorate trip originally planned. Since they weren’t going to do more than drop off the flowers and return, we decided not to make the trip. Instead, we walked to various stores looking for film for Lynn, earrings from the women’s co-op that Kathy told us about, ice cream at the Nevería and some beer.

While we were walking around town, we suddenly heard Lynn yell, “Get away!!” She had been at the end of our little group so we turned around to see what had happened. Apparently, this guy had touched her butt then tried to stick his hand in her front pocket. He was shirtless, dirty and extremely scruffy…obviously drunk and a very bad pick-pocket. It was my 8th trip here (including one 5-week long trip in 2004) and I’d never had anything like that happen.

We made all our stops and purchases (1/2 gallon each of strawberry and (Oreo) cookie ice cream at the ice cream store, several pairs of earrings between us at the co-op, film from a tienda off the square and beer from the tienda across the street) and were heading back to the Casa when Jane saw a cross-dresser on a balcony up the street from the Casa. Kathy says there are several and the one she knows best is very nice.

Back at the Casa, we were sitting around the table chatting when it started to rain again…3 times today so far.

In the price-check department…of our market purchases that afternoon, the earrings were handmade from coconut shell and $1.50/pr, the ice cream was 2 - ½-gallon containers of hand-packed ice cream for $8, one roll of 24-exposure color film was something over $8, 9 dozen flowers (in Hawaii they’re called ginger flowers, I don’t know what they call them in El Salvador) and 3 potted trees came to $20.

Supper was pupusas (bought, not Cecilia-made), baked platanos stuffed with cheese and cinnamon, and ice cream for dessert.

After supper, Jane, Michael, Alisha and I put the vitamins and ibuprofen we bought into 30-count plastic bags. When people come to the Casa asking for vitamins for their kids, the team can hand them a ready-made bag now. Part of the reason we brought specifically children’s vitamins was because last week a father came to ask for vitamins for his small children and the Team didn’t have any. The last medical delegation had left them a stock but it was all gone. The dad who had asked came back as we were leaving for San Francisco that morning so we actually got to meet him, his wife and their 2 children.

We also put little pads on the bottoms of the dining chairs. Blanca said she had another little job for us for tomorrow but said it was a surprise and wouldn’t tell us what it was.

Alisha has been terrorizing Lynn this week with bats…or at least the threat of. She drew a bat on the white board of the Casa with the message, “I’m watching you, Lynn” and talking about putting on a bat costume in the night.

Well, we were making origami boxes around the dining table with paper squares I’d brought down and Alisha went to the internet and found a bat origami pattern. I didn’t have any black paper so she made a whole family of bats in different sizes in bright red and orange and yellow and blue and green and purple. We gave them all names like Batricia, Battina, Batrum, Batsy and Battiny (for the littlest one).