01 September 2011

El Salvador 2011 - Day 6

Cohetes (homemade fireworks rockets) started around 6am to kick off the Independence month celebrations.

We have an all-communities meeting this morning. Kristi is coming in from San Salvador to translate. By 8, people started arriving. Nancy and I served coffee and pan dulce to people as they arrived. Some people brought chickens (live), bags of corn for elote, avocados, etc. Just because they wanted to. The coffee and pan are paid for from the house maintenance account and the Team feels strongly about providing something for meeting attendees because they give up their morning and some walk a long, long way. The Team doesn’t ask for anything.

The meeting started around 8:30 with a prayer and singing let by Balmore. Around 8:45, people are still arriving. Everyone moved out to the back yard where there is more space than in the chapel.

That was a good idea until it started to rain. Everyone picked up chairs and moved back to the Chapel, which didn’t have space so they moved the pickup out of the garage bay and the meeting moved there. Also a good idea, except for when trucks and street noise drowned out the meeting.

After lunch, Nancy and I went to the market to hunt fruit. I got some star fruit, more liche and we got some cheese for tomato/cheese sandwiches. We also stopped at the ice cream store and got a couple half-gallon ice cream containers (mango and chocolate/vanilla).

In the afternoon, we did bean deliveries to Casa de Zinc, Casa de Zacate, and San Isidro. These communities are much lower down the mountain and it was really warm there. In Casa de Zacate, the community decided that those getting 40 pounds of seed will give 20 pounds back after the harvest; those getting 15 pounds will give back 10. They decided on their own that because they were given freely, they would also give freely.

The Directiva there is also asking the people who receive 40 pounds to pay $2 and people who receive 15 pounds to pay $1 for the transportation to get the seed delivered. The Directiva collected the money and made it clear that the money was going to the Directiva, not the Pastoral Team.

We asked about yield and were told that the 40 pounds of seed beans would yield about 400 pounds at harvest. In this community, people also were commenting on the quality of the beans.

Today, everyone brought their own bag. When they got the bag off the truck, they would dump the beans into the bag they brought and put the empty back in the truck. Some people were dumping the beans into plastic bags. One woman dumped hers into a plastic bag and then put the bag on her head (which is how women carry loads here). I just hoped the bag wouldn’t break, giving her a bean shower.

Back at the Casa, I went across the street to buy diet Pepsi but they didn’t have any. Nancy was going to Mili’s for beer and I went with her to see if Mili’s had some. They didn’t, but we’d passed another little shop on the way there so I thought I’d check on the way back. They didn’t have any either. I should probably mention that the concept of “diet” or “lite” versions of things here would be strange. If people splurge to buy something as frivolous as cola, they’d want the full-sugar version. There was one more shop, a half-block off the street we were on and I tried there, too. It had 3 cans of Coca-Cola Lite and I bought them.

We decided it was time for the tomato and cheese sandwiches but discovered that the Team had used all the tomatoes for the all-community meeting lunches yesterday. We were crestfallen… But then Cecilia went off somewhere and came back with some tomatoes. Where she got them at that time of night, we don’t know.

Kathy and Nancy sliced tomatoes, onions, green peppers that someone in the community gave us that day and the cheese Nancy and I bought at the market. Nancy mixed up some mayo with basil and garlic powder for spread. There were only enough fresh rolls left for everyone to have one but boy! were they good! I took the leftover veggies and chopped them up, crumbled the cheese on it and mixed in a little of the mayo concoction and made a salad of it. Throw in some liche and star fruit for dessert… Heaven!

After supper I finished the second mitten, did the dishes then called it a night.