It was a sweaty night. The door was closed to keep out the mosquitoes. The rain was drumming loudly on the laminate rooftop. The cement block walls were weeping with humidity. It was too hot to go to bed, so the three of us were sitting up.
I asked the man of the house if he could tell me about his life. Here is his story, as best as I could understand it . . .
When I was a little boy, I only wore a cut-off sack from corn or other seeds, tied around the waist with a rope. I didn't have shoes or anything else. When I got a little bigger, I wore some short pants and then I went to school. I paid close attention and the teachers let me pass first and second grade in one year. I lived with my mom and my sister because my parents were separated. I went through 6th grade, and every year I was the model student, so the teachers helped me by giving me food and clothes and supplies. But when I registered for 7th grade, I could only go 2 times because I had to work from 7 am to 7 pm. For a little while I worked selling school supplies and going to school.
When I was a youth, I took up with an older woman and this was really bad. [Maybe they had a child - this part was hard for me to hear.] She left me. So I came to San Salvador and worked all kinds of jobs. First I shoveled garbage in the streets. I always dreamed of being a teacher. I have been together with my compañera for 32 years. I was without work for 1 year, but now I have a job.
My friend likes to talk, but does not talk about his own life very often.
He and his wife always have a group of neighborhood boys playing in and around their home. They keep these boys safe, encourage them to go to school, and feed them whatever they have to give. They expect them to use good manners and to do a few chores around the house. My friend is a teacher.