One of the homes we visited was a couple with 14 children. They are poor … poor. They live in a smallish house with minimal ‘furniture’ (‘furniture being a relative term here). Their little home is on a level-ish part of land with several hills surrounding it and a beautiful view of a valley below and a volcano in the distance. They live smack in the middle of the land they farm for the owner who lives in San Salvador. They ‘rent’ the land they farm – but he didn’t know how much he would have to pay that year. The owner hadn’t said yet – but last year it was $24. A fair price for all the land he was working! And it is a beautiful location. When we were there, the corn was all planted and growing nicely – about 3 feet high. The father of the family was answering our questions very graciously. He seemed pleased by our interest in his work and our interest in his community.
So yesterday we went out to La Llanes again. But this time for something very sad. The same man who was explaining about his crops and sharing his life with us – died. He was 51. He left behind a wife, 14 children and one grandchild. Apparently he woke up one night with deep pain in his lower gut. He didn’t go to the clinic right away – but eventually someone took him. I’m not sure what the prognosis was – the family wasn’t sure. They might never know.
But we drove out to be with them for the first day of prayers.
The Pastoral Team helped out with all the pan dulce (sweet bread) they would need, a couple pounds of Don Justo Coffee, 12# of sugar, 100 cups and plates, misc food stuffs for the family themselves. We gave them money to buy the funeral candles. And we paid for the transportation for the people to get home after the burial. And we’re thinking of buying a couple hundred pounds of corn for the family.
We’re worried about the family. How can we not worry? How is she going to take care of all those children? Their crops?
|8 of Benigno's children, a grandson and his widow Maria|
We found out about a beautiful thing – tomorrow (Saturday) – about 20 people from the community are going to go out to their fields and ‘clean’ it for them – to clear the weeds from the corn stalks. This is a job that would normally take almost a week for one or two people to do. And the widow would not be able to do it – her youngest is 3 years old!! So the community is banding together to help her out.
And I bet they will help her through every step of the process all the way to harvest.
Community is something people do well here. It is uplifting and inspiring in the midst of the great sadness.
Please pray for this family. And all the families who struggle with life’s great challenges.
|Looking back at their home from the edge of the slope at the end of Benigno's rented farmland|
|One of Benigno's sons perched on a stump in the field. What a view!|