Day 6 - Sunday at Casa de Zacate
This is the sixth day of our adventure in El Salvador, Betty "Lizbet" Sandy reporting. In case you are wondering why the unusual name, there are two "Bettys" in the El Salvador Delegation. It was confusing to call out Betty and get two responses at the same time. Since Maurice Dyer is here with his wife, Betty, I decided to use my legal given name, Elizabeth which is often "Lizbet" in El Salvador. So that's who's writing here.
Our schedule has been very full all week. We get up at 6 a.m., breakfast at 7 a.m., and today, we were on our way to the market in Berlin at 8:15 a.m. We walked the streets of Berlin about three square blocks and everything in the middle. There were stores, vendors, and farmers all selling their wares. Three-wheeled taxis were weaving in and out along with buses and large truck transports that were bringing people into the city from the villages. They have been up since dawn to cook and do chores and then walk to church and market.
At 8:40 a.m., we walked over to San Jose Catholic Church. We participated in the Mass as much as we could. We even sang two familiar songs including the chorus to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" entitled "Gloria, Gloria, Hallelujah", and the chorus to "Amen" at a slower tempo in response to the conclusion of the Lord's Supper. It was beautiful to see the church fill up with people throughout the Mass before the Lord's Supper. It started out with about one quarter of the church filled, but by the time of the sacrament, the pews were full and totaled about 200. The service ended at about 10:45 a.m. Then we went to the market and bought a few things including pineapple which we ate at lunch.
Lunch started at Noon. We drank a fruitie drink with finely diced apples, pears, watermelon, and other fruits in water. It was delicious! We also had beef, potato and cheese casserole. The white cheese used is called "quesillo". It is delicious and lends itself to a rich but mild taste.
We regrouped and then left for Casa de Zacate. It took 45 minutes to an hour to drive seven miles over tarmac, cobblestone, and dirt roads with huge potholes and uneven ground. Riding in the back of the truck was a real challenge for us "gringos" who are not used to walking these mountains. The trip included a drop in altitude from 3,300 to 1,200 feet in seven miles.
Upon our arrival, we were met by Miguel, the President of the "Directiva" or Town Council. We were greeted and welcomed by the council. Miguel led us to the peoples' homes. They were nicely laid out in adjacent plots of land. It was rather quick and easy to reach the rest of the homes today. We met with 14 yesterday and about nine today. We also took a census on the people in each home to be able to determine who lived in each house, which children went to school and what grade they are in. We gave each family a hat for the man of the household and a homemade apron and card for the woman of the household. They were very grateful for our gifts of friendship and love.
After visiting all the homes, we again met with the Directiva and all the families. They thanked us for coming to visit them in their homes and learn about their people and customs and wants us to come again. Miguel said that we were the first group to visit them that were not a medical team. Again they thanked us and prayed God would get us home and back to our families safely.
We came home, had a delicious dinner. Then we had our devotions and then worked on decorations for a Celebration of the Completion of the Water Project and Electrification Project in Alejandria.
I'll end with a quote that I have heard Miguel and others say this week: "...these are my words, and that's all I have to say."