This has been an incredible 3 days. And we have one more to go.
We have a visitor here from the States and he is visiting ‘door to door’ each family in the two cantons he has partnered with.
What a gift this visit has become.
These are new partnerships. And one of the best ways to get to know a community is to walk. And Jerry has been willing to do so.
We visited 43 homes in Alejandria over the course of two days (Monday and Tuesday). Today we visited 39 homes in San Lorenzo. We have 43 more to visit tomorrow in the same community.
We are taking photos of each family and asking simple questions about the type of work they do and if their children are in school, etc. Most of the answers are similar. For example: most of the people in San Lorenzo work on the coffee farm in that community – this is a farm owned by one man who lives in San Salvador. They are care-takers of the small homes they inhabit, they ‘clean’ (prune the coffee trees, get rid of weeds, plant new trees, etc.) and then they pick the coffee in their little area when in season.
Some people have a small plot of land they rent to grow corn and beans to eat all year. Some do construction work when it is available or do other spot jobs. Some sell what little they have (fruit) to make ends meet.
One great thing we learned in San Lorenzo – the vast majority of children under the age of 18 are in school. But most walk an hour to go to a school in Berlin. There is only one teacher at their community school. She teaches Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. God bless her!!
Here are some things that are new to me – and somewhat interesting to have learned.
- In San Lorenzo, to rent a ‘manzana’ of land (equivalent to about 1.68 acre) for corn and beans could be anywhere between $40 and $100 per year. This is usually paid at harvest.
- Coffee farm workers might earn $4 per day.
- We met a 94 year old man who has 84 people as a result of his life: 6 sons and daughters… with multiple grand-children, great grand children, great-great grand-children and great-great-great grand-children. How cool is that?
- We met a 43 year old woman with a 25 year old husband
- We met a 70 year old man with a 22 year old wife with a 2 month old babe. (Can I hear an “amen” ??)
- We met a couple of grandmother’s taking care of their grandchildren while their moms were off working.
- We met people who have to walk an hour and a half to get to work – hand planting, weeding and harvesting their crops – growing just enough to eat with a little more to sell.
This going door to door has been a wonderful experience. I’m totally exhausted but very satisfied. We have one more day of visits. I’m anxious to learn more.