Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Legendary

















We arrived in the evening. It was dark. It was raining.

The main cobblestone road in the center of the small community was all dug up. For the community, this was good, a result of a sewer project which would carry away the dirty water and latrine waste to an appropriate treatment place. For the late-night walkers - not so good.

We navigated our way along the trench, stepping on rocks, tip-toeing across slippery boards which covered unknown depths. We had our backpacks slung over our shoulders, our umbrellas or flashlights gripped in our hands. We looked like a colorful line waddling ducklings, following our swiftly walking leaders.

I was following Nancy at the back of the pack. I am short. Nancy is really short. We came to a narrow board which traversed a big hole. The board did not look sturdy, so our Salvadoran guides (who had ushered the rest of the line safely into the house and who were now standing beside the hole) told Nancy to jump. There was no way little Nancy could jump over that hole. I am not really sure how she made it across, some swift combination of leaping and tip-toeing on the board and Salvadorans grabbing her elbows resulted in success.

Then it was my turn. As I attempted to copy Nancy's move, something not so graceful occurred and ... thanks to the Salvadorans, I did not fall into the hole.

This does not seem like much of a story. But the retelling of the Great Rescue, "...as Linda was about to fall into a deep, deep hole, we grabbed her under the arms (picture great dramatic action) and picked her up like a little doll (more dramatic action) and saved her life, ¡Dios mío!" provided entertainment for the remainder of the evening.

And not just for the remainder of the evening. This story is repeated every time we meet, not only in the small community in which the great rescue occurred, but throughout the greater San Salvador area. In fact, friends from the US and El Salvador who visit the community come to me to say that they have heard the tale of The Great Rescue when two women saved my life by lifting me up when I was falling into a big, deep hole.

Yes, I have become legendary.

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