07 June 2010

San Francisco & El Corozol

(Casa Pastoral, Berlin)

I woke up around 6 and no one else was up yet. I went back to bed and shortly heard the Casa door open with the arrival of Cecilia, coffee making, sweeping, etc. I got up, ‘showered’ (no running water today) and sat down with my trip journal.

I discovered after we arrived at the Casa yesterday that I’d left my water bottle at Los Pinos in San Salvador. So now I’m drinking a bottle of Pepsi Lite so that I can have a bottle to use for water the rest of the trip.

Ceci is making us pancakes and beans for breakfast. The bread lady came so we have bakery-fresh bread, too. The bread doesn’t come in loaves for slicing like in the US. They’re sort of lozenge-shaped rolls, pointy on the ends and puffy in the middle, a little longer than my hand.

I spent some time perusing yesterday’s paper that was still sitting out on the table. The back page is a full-page ad for an ice cream place called Jungle Snow (yes, in English). The ad shows a picture of a plate with 4 balls of watermelon and 2 scoops of ice cream drizzled with chocolate. There are 4 small points of fresh watermelon with their tips dipped in chocolate. Each of the points has a smaller melon ball with it. It looks like the ice cream balls at the center of the plate are sitting in a pool of chocolate. I think maybe the larger watermelon balls are actually ice cream or sorbet. Although, I can’t really tell. I have had frozen watermelon here. They’ll take a chunk of the red part, put a stick in it and freeze it. Then you eat it like a popsicle only it never melts and drips down your hand. Anyway, the pictured confection is called “Watermelon Snow” (again, in English) and sells for $2.99.

The paper is La Prensa Grafica - EdiciĆ³n Dominical. Their tag line is “Noticias de Verdad”, 60-cents. There are about 3 major newspapers in the country. La Prensa and El Diario de Hoy are the 2 that the Casa tends to buy…and in fact are the only papers I’ve seen sold in town this trip. The other one is El Heraldo. It’s a fairly far-left publication and not so popular in the rural areas.

Idalia arrived and brought a flower sprig from a tree she passed on her way. They call it gemelitas (little twins). It has very glossy green leaves surrounding white flowers and an incredible scent like jasmine or frangipani or something. The sprig looks like a small wedding bouquet.

(San Francisco)

We met with the directive at the church. When I was last here in September (2009), they’d just completed the church and we helped paint it. Then they had a huge celebration to dedicate the completion of the project and the bishop came to say mass. It was a Very Big Deal for the community.

We talked about some of the projects they’ve completed during our partnership…solar panels, fertilizer, the church, student scholarships, water tank for the school, the multi-canton youth group gathering, etc. We talked about current projects…the water filters and retaining wall mostly. There has been no work on the wall for 15 days so people can tend their farms. Work is expected to begin again on Thursday and completion should be in the next 3 weeks. There were papers taped up to the wall with work teams listed. 4 people per day will work in a rotation schedule so that no one person or group has to do a majority of the work.

For future projects, they’d like to buy some land to build a community center/clinic/soccer field area. The land they’re looking at has been for sale for several years but they haven’t approached the owner yet. In September, they’ll start getting power to the community. Power lines have gone right by their community for years but until now, they’ve not been able to tap into them.

I took some pictures of the retaining wall…also a dung beetle I saw on the way that was rolling its big ball of dung. I’d never seen one in person and it was an incredibly brilliant green.

We went to Miguel’s house to see the water tank project. I was at Miguel and Estella’s wedding back in 2004 when I was staying in El Sal for 5 weeks to teach English. They now have 3 kids. The oldest was off at school but the other 2 were at home. Joe had a great time playing with Joselito, the youngest.

We went back to the Casa for lunch (chicken, rice, veggies) then headed out to El Corazol to meet with their directiva.

(El Corazol)

El Corazol is about 12 miles from the Casa. It took us an hour and a half to get there.
On the way there, we passed a huge tree of a type I’d seen before and always love. Whenever I see one, I get itchy hands/feet to climb it. The branches grow in intertwined into layers a few feet apart. If ever there was a tree made for climbing, this is it! I finally found out the name of the tree…amate. Someday, I am going to climb one of them…

This is Marcia’s sister community so I didn’t pay strict attention to the meeting…I didn’t have anything to add. I looked at the puppies running around…probably 4 or 5 of them a couple months old.

At some point during the meeting, a praying mantis started to crawl up Joe’s leg. He took pictures of it while he and Otilia played with it. At one point I got up to go take some pictures of it but Otilia brought it to me. I took some pictures of it on Jesus’ hand and mine until it dashed up my arm and crawled to the top of my head. They’re really fast when they want to be.


Joe went across the street to Tienda Rossy and came back with an ice cream bar. It looked really good so Marcia and I went and got some goodies too. I got a dreamsicle sort of thing and a beer for Kathy. Marcia got a beer too. The ice cream really hit the spot!

Pablo (interpreter) left. He said he only lives about 5 blocks away.

We had pupusas and banana chips for supper.Kathy was planning to play the inflatable bug prank on Cecilia but I went to bed at 8:30 and I didn’t witness the results.