(NYM people, read this first part, everyone else, skip after the line)
Today has been an emotional day so far. We started off by going to “La Iglesia Evangelica Amigos” in Ciudad Delgado. This is the church that Raul and Glenda, the Salvadorans who stayed with my family a couple of weeks ago, attend, along with their families. The service was pretty typical, with plenty of hymns out of the well-worn and mostly memorized books accompanied by amplified guitar and a sermon about staying strong with faith in God. A couple of things stood out. First, it was someone’s birthday, and while he stood at the front of the church, a bit misty eyed, the entire congregation (which was actually pretty small) sang to him and then gave him the opportunity to say a few words. What followed was a very heartfelt thanks to God for the years he had been given, and much faith that God would continue to protect him in the future. I was quite touched, not only by his words, but how the entire congregation supported him with their frequent ‘amens’ and smiling faces, coming up afterwards to embrace him and kiss him on the cheek.
Second, Raul stood up and told us about the struggles he and Loyda, his wife, have been going through with their son. Raulito was born with a hole in his heart, and yesterday at an appointment with a pediatric heart surgeon, they found out that the holes have grown bigger and he will need open heart surgery to survive so that his heart does not continue to grow. My heart broke as Raul stood in front of his church, his family, struggling to overcome his tears, struggling to hold it together, struggling to find a way to make this surgery for his son happen. Without medical insurance, he must pay full freight for a surgery that now looks like it will cost upwards of $25,000, not counting ICU care if there are complications. He and Loyda have been suffering, not just mentally, but physically, all symptoms of the enormous stress they are under, literally worried sick and to distraction with blinding headaches and unbearable heartache. Instead of asking for money, though there is no way that he himself can pay for it, he asked for prayers. What happened next, though commonplace I suppose here, was an incredible experience for me. The pastor asked all of us to lay our hands on Raul and Loyda and pray for them. As the murmured prayers of the pastor and the congregation rose into the air, I started to feel myself tremble and my eyes to tear up and I got kind of shivery. I felt all the love, all the faith, concentrated on these three people, Raul, Loyda and tiny Raulito, by the people who cared so much for them. If that wasn’t the work of God, then I don’t know what is. I don’t know what’s going to happen with Raulito, but I sure as heck can’t just stand by and watch. Maybe that makes me a bad Quaker, for not having faith, pero asi es. I’ll keep you posted on what I come up with.
Bueno, basta con lo triste.
|Not sure what they think they’re accomplishing with these signs.
Whole road is like this.
After Ciudad Delgado we were off to Soyapango (church and school where I’ll be teaching for the 3rd and 4th weeks). We arrived just in time for the skit about the “Best Father in the World”. It was quite well done and accompanied by much approval from the crowd (much bigger than at Ciudad Delgado). Afterwards, as Leslie and Laura prodded me to the door, I caught up with Angel, one of the really sweet guys I got to meet while here in 2009. He’s an accomplished pianist for the in-house rock band that accompanies all parts of the service there. Then we hopped in the car and drove here to San Ignacio to stay with Daniel and his family for the next two weeks. Right now, we’re descansando in preparation for meetings and dinner tonight. I love how here, simply descansando (literally de-tired-ing) is a completely defensible way to spend an hour, an afternoon, or a weekend.
Oh, on the way, I snapped some pics (sorry, I forgot to at the churches… I’ll do that next weekend for sure).
|on the way to San Ignacio|
Laura and I went on what ended up being a two hour hike this afternoon up the road by Danny’s house (we gave them a bit of a fright, I think). It was gorgeous and we hit it just right with some beautiful sun-through-the-clouds, climbing high enough to be at their level and then see the little towns below. We met some cows and quizzical salvadorans in the back of a pickup truck. It was really nice just to talk and walk and take pictures and not worry about talking in Spanish. We got back just in time to go to our 3rd (third!) church service of the day where we were again welcomed and I had to do a little on-the-spot speech thing. We got pupusas at Pupuseria Lucy which Danny’s wife owns (quite good, I assure you, I had three and enjoyed myself to the maximum).
|no, not from an airplane|
Right now, I’m sitting in Danny’s living room next to Danny the Younger listening to Macklemore and watching him play Need for Speed (computer game). Outside, postage stamp corn fields abut run down cow pasture turned scruffy forest that melts seamlessly into the misty sky. Downstairs, Laura is sleeping in a room that Raulito (Danny’s son) confided had just been rid of ratones because Papi trapped them and then plugged their hole. In front of me is an enormous flat screen TV in a light salmon pink colored room. I love the colors and flavors of this country and the people I’ve met here. Forgive me if I sound overly romantic. This is truly a beautiful mish-mashy place.
|The roots are deep (context: conversation about culture)|
|summit selfie 🙂 (or as much of a summit as we could handle)|
|I can hear Ryan David yelling in my ear “vaca! vaca!”|
|hangin’ out at the pupuseria with one of San Ignacio’s english teachers|