11 June 2010

Walk to San Lorenzo

Answering the age-old question...


I was up around 6:30 and ‘showered’ (no running water) then Marcia and I reviewed some of the books before breakfast. For the most part, they keep excellent records and everything fiscal is transparent.

I ate most of the breakfast…pancake, fried egg and half a roll. I couldn’t eat the beans.

At the end of the meal, Javier and Cristian showed up to watch Copa Mundial (World Cup) on the TV in the office. The picture isn’t the best but it’s good enough.

We left at 8:20 to walk to San Lorenzo, where Otilia lives. It takes her 45 minutes to walk…it took us almost an hour. But, we did stop to take pictures and such along the way. It’s a loooooong way up a very steep road.

When we got there, we rested a bit, met Otilia’s mother, daughter and grandson, then started the walk to where they go every day to get water. We started by continuing UP the mountain until we got to a deep ravine where we started a very steep, switch-backed trail down into the ravine.
Fatima, Otilia's mom, Otilia, Wiliam

At the bottom of the trail (but not the bottom of the ravine) we came to where water runs or seeps (depending on the season) from the rock face where it’s collected in pilas (cement tanks). People come here on a daily basis to bathe, wash clothes and collect the family water for cooking/drinking that they carry back up the ravine.

We walked back up the steep trail, but we did it without 40 pounds of water on either head or shoulder.

Back at Otilia’s house, we bought chips (like Doritos only they were Buenachos and promoted by Nacho Man). Otilia’s mother served us atol…a traditional drink made from corn flour cooked with water or milk and served warm. I kind of liked it. Kathy said it’s sometimes really thick, sometimes kind of disgusting, sometimes it’s really good. It all depends on who made it and how.

Otilia brought out her birds. Two of them are parakeet-like things that she got while I was here in September. At that time, they were tiny, mostly fealtherless and pretty ugly. Alicia fed them mashed watermelon from a spoon. Another bird looked like a type of dove and there was also a fledgling bird of some sort.

We got back to the Casa around 12:20. I bought 2 cans of pop. When I got to the top of the stairs, Miguel, Blanca and Cecilia were sitting in chairs obviously resting after the walk. I looked at the three of them then started to dance a little jig as if to say, “Hey, I’m not tired.” Everyone laughed.

We had another meeting with other members of the team. I put a new battery in my camera. We got ready to head to Alegría for supper.

Alegría is a town further up the mountain and along the ridge. There’s a restaurant there where we traditionally take the Pastoral Team for supper on our last night. It was looking a little threatening as we were leaving with Ale driving and Kathy in the cab, the rest of us in the back.

Part way up the mountain, we drove into a cloud bank. Just about the time we hit the edge of Alegría, it started to rain. Then to pour. We all were crouched down in the back trying to use the cab to stop some of the rain. I had a rain jacket on and got my camera inside it. The only part of me that got really wet was my hair. I had my arms spread over Blanca and Idalia to try to help them stay a little dryer.

Once we got into the restaurant, it REALLY started to rain…it dumped buckets and was very windy. Leaving us to wonder if it would let up by the time we wanted to go back down the mountain.

The 10 of us had meals and hot drinks (since we were all wet and cold except for Ale and Kathy who’d been in the cab). The total bill was $65. I had pollo asada en cebollada (grilled chicken in an onion sauce) with rice and salad that was very tasty.

When it was time to go, it was still raining but not quite so hard. We talked about making 2 trips so that everyone could ride back in the cab but the Salvadorans said no…we’d all go back at once. Then insisted Marcia and I ride inside. I gave my jacket to Blanca. Marcia gave her’s to Cecilia, who in turn handed it to her brother Ale. Otilia and Idalia also rode inside with us.

Back at the Casa, we met with Otilia about the water filter project for about 2 hours. We reviewed the books and planned for the coming year.

I swapped pictures with Kathy and Marcia then went to bed.