I just had to buy it. It's the most awesome tecomate I have ever seen. It's big and beautiful and painted with a bunny, flowers, birds, a butterfly, trees and houses. It's 16" tall with a big old corn cob stopper, and I can sling it over my shoulder with the pink plastic cord. I'm not sure why I like this big tecomate so much. I just do, and I'm glad that the money I paid for it was used to buy food for a homeless shelter in San Salvador.
Maybe you have never had a tecomate of your own. A tecomate is a member of the squash/gourd family, and once it is dried with the seeds and innards cleaned out, it is very lightweight and has an extremely hard shell. For many many generations, campesinos have carried water out to the fields in their canteen tecomates. The tecomate is still used for this purpose, but also appears as a prop in folk-dances and a traditional image in Salvadoran artwork.
I bought my tecomate as a work of art. But the woman who sold it to me said, "It will keep water really cold for a long time. It's like a thermos." Then she gave me the instructions for preparing my tecomate for use:
1. Wash it out with water.
2. Wash it out again.
3. Fill it to the top with water and let it sit over night.
4. The next day, dump it out, fill it to the top with water and let it sit over night again.
5. It's ready.
My awesome big tecomate is not my only tecomate. I have another one which is a little smaller, decorated with a blue ribbon, and was a gift from a friend. About 5 years ago, we were visiting our sister church community in El Salvador. We were using a "stone soup" theme as we visited families and invited them to worship. Kids brought gifts of nature to weave into a communal weaving, and families brought gifts to decorate the altar. The tecomate with the blue ribbon and red roses was one of those gifts. It has a tag on it, "from Gonzalo and Luci with much love."