June 26 – SUNDAY

Sundays are usually more relaxed but always busy.  We usually do not travel anywhere because so many people from the cantons (surrounding villages) take advantage of the abundant transportation available on this day.  There are more trucks going to and from town to the cantons for church and the market.  Lots of people drop in to talk.  Either for something specific or just to chat.  It’s a great way to catch up on what’s happening.  Our first visitor today arrived at 6:50 a.m. from San Felipe Pajuilar.  This community does not have a church partnership but they work with the Pastoral Team and attend the bi-monthly meetings. They receive random assistance, and in turn, support the work of the Pastoral House.  They received fertilizer from funds donated by several churches for non-partnered communities and groups.  They in turn gave the Pastoral House about a ‘medio de maiz’ (which is about 35 pounds of corn) with the idea that they are able to help others more in need than they.  Most all of the communities give this gift of corn when receiving fertilizer.  The Pastoral Team sells some of the corn at a really low price – much lower than they can buy on the street or in a store – to those who come to the door in need.  If they don’t sell it all, they sell it in bulk before it can go bad.  This money is used to help the non-partnered communities. 

Our next guest: Miguel.  He used to be a part of the Pastoral Team but stopped when he started having kids and needed an actual job.  He still helps out on occasion if needed but also drops by just to visit.  He loves to chat and often stays a couple of hours. 

Two people from Casa de Zinc and two from Casa de Zacate dropped in for a quick meeting.  We needed to go over the agenda for the Trinity delegation.  We will spend time in their communities and they need time to plan. Each community prepares a lunch for the delegation, the Pastoral Team, and the committee members who accompany us for our door-to-door visits.  The Pastoral Team is very mindful of each community’s resources and their ability to provide foods for our lunches.  In this case, the chickens and tortillas will come from the families in Zacate. Zinc has fewer families and fewer resources.  They will provide us tortillas.  The Pastoral Team will bring the rest: the meat for Zinc, veggies, rice, plates, glasses, napkins, fruit, and soda or Gatorade for all.

It was great to see them.  It was a great conversation.  They said the communities are very excited and happy and will receive the delegation with ‘brazos abiertos’ (open arms).

They left about 9:30 and we had a bit of a respite.  Blanca and Ceci went over the Don Justo accounting books in response to a phone call from our producer. Then Blanca and Idalia went over some accounts to figure out what will be needed and how much is needed for our time in Zinc and Zacate.

While they did that, I started this blog and emailed a few people in response to what Blanca and Ceci found in the books.

Balmore stopped in on his way to church.

At about 11, Balmore, Blanca, Idalia, and Alejandro went back home for the day leaving me, Mike and Cecilia to hold down the fort. 

A lady selling veggies rang the bell.  Ceci bought a little.  Mike and I did not do much for a while.  Mike has been the main photographer and story teller to our families and the delegation arriving tomorrow via Whatsapp.  He spent a bit of time updating those group messages.  He was able to chronical tortilla making from dried kernel to tortilla!  I’m glad he has something to do!

Three members of Asociación RED Uniendo Manos de El Salvador (Joining Hands) came for lunch at about 11:30.  Cecilia and Blanca are part of their Board and pre-pandemic, they would attend their meetings in San Salvador.  Anytime any of this group are in the neighborhood, they stop by.  Today they came for lunch on their way to a 3-day meeting in Alegria.  In addition to the three board members, there was a spouse, a grandma and two children.  They are a very active NGO working with environmental issues, water rights, food sovereignty, etc.  It was interesting talking to them!

After they left about 3 hours later, it settled down again.  I sorted and organized my photos and cleared out the inbox of my email account.

Then Mike and I went to 5 p.m. mass with Cecilia.  Afterwards, we went to Mauricio and Anahi’s for pupusas.  My old Sunday tradition with Cecilia!

Frijoles rojas (red beans) ready to shuck. Bananas and Platanos (plantains) from Blanca’s house

Look how expensive Acetaminophen is here. You can buy 1000 – 500mg tablets at Costco. Ridiculous.

Bananas in their natural environment. A really cool (but tiny) beetle. (click on the photo)

Tortilla making 101

5 p.m. church service Pupusas Anahi afterwards. And great hot chocolate

Bustling and busy town square after church. Walking to get pupusas.

View from the Pastoral House dormitory balcony.

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