Final day at the worksite today…
We said adios to our friends in Getsemani Community today, and we were sent out in style. We spent the morning working at the two worksites. It was amazing to think about and see how much work had been accomplished during the week. At Santos’ house, we arrived with only dirt trenches dug out. By Friday, we saw the walls were up to the halfway point. At Jose’s house, we started with the walls up to the halfway point, and by Friday they were ready to put the roof on.
Our work day ended at noon, and right before lunch, Pastor Sue said a blessing at each house. With our team present, our Habitat amigos, the masons and the families present, a beautiful blessing was given to the house, and water poured on the hands of the families and the masons. Peace was shared with all, and we left the houses full of joy, knowing that we left a small footprint in this beautiful place.
At lunchtime, we were treated to a delicious lunch made by Ana Maria, who we first met in Villa Esperanza. She toasted us with thanks and the challenge to continue on the mission of paying this good work forward. And also, to make the promise to return. She thanked us for our time, our financial commitment, and the willingness to come to this country with open hearts and minds.
Then there was a little bit of a fiesta. Word spreads fast in a small community and we were blessed by many of the children. They were each given a certificate to give us, and with a mix of glee and apprehension, called out our names one by one to hand us our certificates. Each name was also celebrated by the ringing of the Baltimore Cowbell. (How did that get here???)
Right before we left, Al offered us the hula hoop challenge. With one big circle, all joined together, we raced to pass the hula hoops, over the head, under the feet. The kids were quite skilled in this, the adults not so much. Regardless, a lot of laughter echoed under the roof of the community center.
And then it was time for hasta luego. Many hugs and photos all around. Such a bittersweet time. We have felt so welcomed. Despite the language barrier, words cannot describe the feeling of inclusiveness we have felt this week. This beautiful country, this beautiful community, these beautiful people…so much love.
After our farewell, we headed into Ataco for some shopping. We pass Ataco each day to and from the worksite, and just set off the main road is this lovely artisan community. There is a beautiful loom shop, where we could watch the weavers work on these large, wooden looms. There are shops filled with beautiful artwork, jewelry, and a machete shop or two. I don’t want to name names, but someone (or two) may be bringing home a new way to cut the grass.
We spent our last evening here at Hotel Alicante- this beautiful lodge in the mountains- with a traditional Salvadoran meal of pupusas, pastalitos, and cortida. Muy delicioso. After dinner, we shared in a service or worship, communion, offering, and sharing. It was a lovely way to end the work week.
Our team cannot thank all of our family and friends at home for your continued support and prayers while we have been away. We have prayed for all of you, too. It is with joy that we look forward to sharing our stories with you, to keep the spirit of this community and country alive.
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. -1 John 3:16-18