May is the time for La Fiesta de los Flores – (The Festival of Flowers) a celebration of the Virgin Mary.
The month of May is filled with special masses; you often hear the noisemakers called ‘cojetes’ at all times of the day and night and there are Rosaries dedicated to the Virgin daily in many communities. And we were invited to go to Jesús’ house to attend his day to host the Rosary. Every day in Alejandria a different family plays host and provides a bit of refreshment after the Rosary which takes a little over an hour. May 7th is Cecilia’s day to host because it is her birthday … the 10th will be Blanca’s (it is Mother’s Day here on that day … in El Salvador they go by date – not the day of the week). And the 11th is the day for Alisha and me to host the Rosary. We’ll do our hosting at Blanca’s house so no one has to come up to Berlin. We are planning to make and serve hot chocolate and bake some chocolate chip and PB cookies for everyone.
You can look at Alisha’s blog for more details about this day – but I wanted to write about what we saw on the WAY to Jesús’ house!
About 2:15, we headed out and traveled by way of the main road to Alejandria – I thought we would be parking the truck in the street and walking down the steep hill, across the little river and then back up the other side’s steep hill to get to Jesús’ house – but no. We DROVE it. Thank goodness for a seriously equipped pick up truck with good 4x4 capabilities!!! But that is another story.
There are two parts of Alejandria – one part is on this side of the river and one part is on the other side of the river. We have to drive though the ‘this side’ section to get to the ‘other side’ section. We passed the school, rounded the corner and came upon a half dozen young men working in the street with shovels, machetes and pick-axes. All of them were from Alejandria. We stopped for a bit – the Pastoral Team had made a fresh fruit drink and had ‘baggied’ the liquid up into individual servings and had brought cookies. They knew the people were working and wanted to give them a little treat.
Well – as Blanca and Cecilia handed out the snack, more people came up from where the little playing field is and from up the hill on the other side – I walked over to the ledge to look down on the field to see what they were doing. There were a bunch of people! Men and women, young and older – all clearing debris and digging trenches. I counted at least 20 people. I found out later that there had been even more people working.
They were digging the trenches down the side of a hill on one side of the road, then along the side of said road, then down a hill to the smallish field, then continuing on the side of the field and then finally down a far side hill at the end of the playing field. No one was getting paid to do this work. This is an example of a community working on behalf of itself!
This is an example of a community coming together to work to improve their own community. This is a concept that the Pastoral Team is always preaching; especially to the communities that are receiving assistance from one of our Partners in Iowa. And Alejandria has been blessed with a very generous partner – and they have taken to heart the concept of ‘giving back’ – not necessarily with things (although they do that, too!) – But also with the gift of their hands and sweat and muscle.
And were they sweating!!
This trench will serve to protect the road, the ‘cliff’ area on the side of the road as well as the playing field below. It will channel and divert the heavy rain waters to avoid serious erosion.
I was given a couple of gifts that day. The opportunity to attend the Rosary at Jesús’ house and then seeing the good work of the community!
|Looking down into the playing field|
|Trenches made by people - not machines|
|Literally sweat rolling off her face!|
|2:30 p.m. - the heat of the day!|
|How wonderful that the teens are working for their community!|
|A brief rest|
|Might be the first rest of the day ...|
|Cecilia handing out a pineapple drink! I love his smile!|