Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I love this place!

So, today starts our work delivering books to our sites in El Salvador! We left at 7AM to get started early at a couple of the furthest schools. At the first school (Santa Clara), we were immediately greeted by the principal smiling from ear to ear. He was one of the most positive people I've met in a long time. His excitement for the new donation of books was incredible! He immediately let the teachers know that we were there so they could gather their classes for "reading time." It was so much fun! We went into the first classroom (see above) and started reading with the kids. You could tell they were accustomed to having reading time because they interacted very well with us. This is a sure sign of a school using our book donations to their fullest! It's a great feeling to see the schools taking advantage of a gift that we work so hard to bring them. It also makes me happy for the kids because I can see a bright future in their eyes (in know that's so cliché but it's true).
One of the biggest surprises was when the principal showed us their new COMPUTER ROOM--with internet! I couldn't believe I was in a rural school in El Salvador. I know we take it for granted in the U.S. but this is a huge step forward for this country. We were informed that about 100 of the 5000 schools in El Salvador have computer rooms with internet access but they are working hard to get it in all of the schools. It was exciting to share this accomplishment with the principal!
By the time we got to the second school we were pretty tired but still excited to be there. Did I mention that Kira and I were in the back of a pick-up for about three hours!!! Alice got to sit in the front...lucky thing!
Anyway, the second school (Sisimitepec...try saying that one) was almost completely empty by the time we made our way down the bumpy road and arrived at the front gate. There were a couple guys doing some clean-up so they helped us get to the principal's house to deliver the books. He was a really neat guy and also seemed enthusiastic about the reading program. He must have seen that Kira and I were parched (from being in the sun) so he cut a few coconuts for us and we drank some thirst-quenching coconut water :-) This is one of my favorite things about Central America btw...the fresh, tropical fruits.
So, we sat and talked with Mr. Ortiz (that was his name) and he told us how much it meant to him that we were willing to deliver the books to his house. He was so grateful!
As we were getting ready to leave we notice that our driver (Pabel) was doing something under the hood of his luxurious 1980 Isuzu truck. I just figured it needed more water or oil or something but there was actually a leak in one of the cylinders of the four-cylinder diesel engine. Now, I'm no mechanic but I figured this wasn't good...lol! He seemed to have a handle on everything so I wasn't too concerned. He had a good amount of tools but he was missing the one wrench that he needed so we tried capping it off with bailing wire, electrical tape, a plastic bag, and even considered chewing gum. After several noble but failed attempts, some guy driving by was cool enough to help us out and we got the cylinder sealed off so diesel (which is $5.15/gallon btw) would stop shooting out with every sputter of that poor little engine. We crept our way back over the mountainous terrain on three cylinders but we made it back--tired yet content! It was quite the adventure.
I can tell this was a good day by how tired I am right now! Time to shove off to bed soon!
Good night everyone!

1 comment:

Katie Elliott said...

Oh Allen! I really wish that I had been able to be with you. It looks like such an amazing experience. I PROMISE that I will be there with you next year. Now that I see more pictures and hear more experiences, and consider the time with you, I wouldn't miss it for the world!