Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting to know you …

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks.  We hosted a delegation of 5 people from Dallas Center for a week and since they left on the 15th, I’ve been catching up and attending to different obligations and activities.
One highlight of our delegation week:

A thing I particularly enjoy doing is going to our partner churches communities.  And as tiring and exhausting as it can be, I LOVE to go walking door to door to talk to the people.  It is a great way to get to know the community a little better  - this time we asked questions about what grade their children were in (which is always interesting to see a 17 year old in 4th grade).  We also asked if the land on which they had their home theirs or rented or if they were caretakers.  Then we asked about their farmland: owned or rented and how much land they had.

Some delegates worry about being rude but no one finds these types of questions intrusive.   People here like to talk about their lives.  And when the North Americans come and actually take the time and make the effort to walk in those extreme conditions of heat and sun, dust and dirt, steep hills up and down, rocky, slippy, narrow paths and needing to dodge all manner of large animal pooh – as well as the animals themselves (dogs, cats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, cows, horses and pigs) well – suffice it to say – folks here really appreciate the efforts made by their Iowa family members! 

We don’t get to stay as long as we’d like – but in every home we are welcomed in.  And whoever is there – man, woman or child - they try to find a place for some of us to sit be it a worn out and holey hammock, a very tired plastic chair, a tree stump or humble wooden plank bench.  We are hugged and told ‘pase adelante’ (come on in).  We step onto their dirt floors, look THROUGH their walls to the outside, breathe in the oppressive smoke from their cooking fires, try not to trip over the chickens running under foot and smile and talk and love each other.

The best thing is that not only the delegates get to put a face on their Salvadoran family – but the Salvadoran gets to put a face on their new Iowa family.  It makes the partnership real.  It builds a beautiful connection.  Everyone can now say a prayer for and think about each other with a face in mind. 

So our 5 delegates walked to 119 homes in 3 days – also taking the time to meet with the Directiva (the town council) and share a Celebration of the Word.  What a blessed week.

Virginia home

A beautiful family in Virginia

A steep entry to a home site

Ahi no masito!!!  (not far now!!) hahahaha

Making a 20 point turnaround with lots of 'helpers' STOP!!!!

Blanca and Kathy

Walking by the unpredictable horses and cows

and pigs ...

This is what it's all about!  Maria and friend

And what beauty!

No Maria ... you can't take her home!

I think C.J. is in love!

Blind and very emotional about our visit!

New friends

And I can never resist holding a baby

Lots of walking

... and walking

and walking with a helpful hand

and climbing

through the crops

but worth the walk

Tortilla making

peeking in at the visitors

TWINS!  Thanks for coming to the rescue Mitch

Absolute beauty

Very humble home

obstacle courses

Each family received a new hammock!

Shelling red beans

Don't mess with these big boys

17 days old

The Twins

Cecilia either tapping for me to go ... or to stop.

And some people ask why we are here!! 

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