Saturday, December 30, 2006


Today they celebrated 25th anniversary of the death of Oscar Romero. He was the Arch Bishop of El Salvador who became and advocate of poor and spoke out against the government. He was assassinated/murdered while performing a mass 25 years ago and this event essentially started the civil war. Oh yeah. Beans for breakfast.

In the morning we had a 4.5 hour church meeting. Representatives from each of the Cantones surrounding Berlin. I’d say there where 300 to 400 people there. It was outside but thankfully there was a tarp over the whole proceedings. It was also broadcast on the radio. When the delegate from the Cantone we were at yesterday came in I noticed the Hefe and the lieutenant with whom he was speaking when I tried to have a conversation yesterday. The lieutenant saw me and recognized me. There was lots of singing and sermons and talk of social justice. Lots of people were recognized. The place was packed. Lots of kids and everything. The kids were remarkably well behaved given the length and the heat. Finally we had lunch and the parish team had cooked up 100s of chicken dinners which I attempted to help pass out but there were too many people trying to help so I mostly got in the way. Several of our delegation ate the chicken then we discovered that there was a special meal prepared for us back and the parish house. Fish. Which I understand is considered a premium meal in the area given the fact that we were in the mountains and a long way from easy access to any fish. It was a very generous and honoring meal. However, for our North American tastes it was a little rough eating. We were all very grateful none the less.

After lunch I headed across town to our bunk house to get ready for the next activity of the day. As I headed over I saw the lieutenant from the Cantone from yesterday. I struck up a conversation with him and (contrary to yesterday) he was very willing to talk. We talked about our families. He has an older daughter and a very young son. We talked about how he got to town. By bus. I tried to talk to him about their crops but my Spanish didn’t cut the mustard. I was really glad I was able to talk to him and I felt he really enjoyed talking to me. When we got to the down town area we shook hands and parted ways.

Since it was our last day several of us decided to climb on the flatbed and take the 45 minute (read 2 hours. Travel in El Salvador seems to take twice as long as it is supposed to.) drive to the beach. This turned out to be awesome. We traveled for a long time on a highway but eventually we ended up on a dirt road and we were going by a bunch of sugar cane fields and typical small El Salvadoran homes when all of the sudden we heard this super loud techno music. I looked off to one side and there was this out door disco area with lights and huge speakers. It was at the corner of a T intersection. We turned onto this gravel road which ran in both directions as far as you could see along the beach. Next to the road was a row of thatched hut type things which seemed to be open for anyone to camp in. And you seemed to be allowed to just walk through. Some had small groups of families or little shops in them. Beyond the huts was a rather grey beach. Very nice. About 3 foot waves throwing up a mist in both directions. The beach was lined with palm trees. There were people as far as you could see but not crowded. Most folks where swimming in their clothes. Mostly natives. A few boogie boards. It was very undeveloped. There where a few guys pushing ice cream carts, a small tienda / surf shop with a few items to sell, and the disco and that was about it. Behind the beach was a few rows of shacks as far as you could see also. The water was awesome. We had a blast. It was a great way to end the week. My last good earplugged nights sleep in El Salvador.

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