Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another bumpy road...another great day!

Hola amigos! Today was a great day! Alice wasn't feeling well again :-( so Kira and I set out at 7AM to visit a couple of schools. Don Pabel (our faithful driver) rumbled up to our hotel in his noisy Isuzu diesel to take us on our journey. After an hour of driving, we stopped for a little snack--pupusas in the park in San Antonio never tasted so good! I took the rest stop as a chance to meander through the beautiful, white Catholic church in the town square. I noticed a guy sitting in front of the church and I approached him to see if he could take my picture. As I got closer I noticed he was more than a little intoxicated to I decided to just get the church without my beautiful face...sorry guys ;-)
The visits to the schools went well. The first school was rather large and the library is well on its way to looking like a "real" library. Books for a Better World has been contributing to their library for about five years now and the books are being put to good use. We were impressed to find that the school principal had designated a school librarian (from amongst the students) and he does an excellent job of organizing and keeping inventory of the books. The kids were excited to let us read a couple stories to them and we left with about fifty--or so--new friends :-)
The next school was a first-time BBW school recommended by Don Pabel. Texispulco is a small, three-room school in a rural agricultural village. Getting to the school requires 4x4 so we were happy to have our trusty (well maybe not so trusty) truck to get us there. Don Pabel grew up in the area so he told us about the challenges that face kids in the rural areas of El Salvador. It almost seems like the government forgets about these kids because they don't have even close to the resources that kids in bigger schools have.
When we pulled up to the school all the boys were playing soccer while the girls swept and mopped the classrooms. Kira and I found this a little sad (for the girls) but nothing out of the ordinary for this culture. They all stopped what they were doing when they saw two gringos roll up in that rickety old truck. We introduced our program to the principal and she was happy to accept the books into her tiny start to a library. I wished we had more books to give. The kids were so excited! This may have been the first time they had ever seen an illustrated storybook! I made instant friends with the Kindergarten class (who ever said I don't have any and I was sad to leave when the time came for us to return to Ahuachapan.
On our way home we stopped by to see Don Pabel's family. They were some of the humblest people I have ever met. They were kind enough to share their meager lunch with us--tortillas, rice, and cheese (from their own cow) with a little bit of Tang to drink. I was nearly brought to tears as I ate with joke! These people never cease to amaze me!
I enjoyed chatting with Don Pabel on the 1 1/2 hr ride back to Ahuachapan. At one point it started raining so hard that we could hardly see the road but it was ok.
We got back safely and met up with Alice at the hotel to make one last stop at El Hogar de los NiƱos--an orphanage in town. Although it was sad to think that anyone could ever give up these beautiful children, it was amazing to see the loving care that the nuns provide them 24/7. I enjoyed playing Legos with the little brought back memories. I nearly lost an eye at one point when the "tallest tower in the world" came crashing down due to a "bus accident." It was fun!
We finished up the day with a nice meal at the world-famous Guatemalan restaurant chain "Pollo Campero." It's almost like comfort food to me with all the time I've spent in Central America lately :-)
Despite all of the wonderful times I'm having I have to admit that I'm missing family and friends right now. I love the comments that you've been leaving...keep 'em coming! I love you guys!


Cristi said...

Allen, thanks for sharing your amazing experiences with us "stay-at-home" types. You are doing such amazing things and it sounds like the people of El Salvador are very grateful for the books. I love reading about it everyday. We miss you, but know you're doing great things! I wish I could give you a big hug.

Katie Elliott said...

This brings tears to my eyes just reading about your experiences Allen.