The morning started out with tamales for breakfast and the safe return of Julia's husband while we were at Sunday School. Oh my there were a lot of kids in that small space - maybe 70 kids! We all have our tricks, and so I pulled a favorite out of my hat: I sang "Jesus Loves Me" in English (with hand motions), then the children sang it back to me in Spanish (with hand motions), and then we "sang" it using only the hand motions. The look on Pastor Santiago's face said, "Hey, that worked!" Yes it did.
After Sunday School we went to Bryan's house for a visit. Bryan insisted. I miss Bryan. I remember him as a very charismatic and precocious 9-year-old. He and his family moved away from the community because of gang threats to their family. Bryan's older brother was murdered while working as a fare-taker on a micro-bus. That happened a few years ago. I imagine Bryan is a tall teenager by now, but until we meet again I will think of Bryan as the little guy who always wanted to help and was forever by my side pleading in his sing-song voice, "Come over to my house. Come over to my house." On that Sunday, after Sunday School, we went to Bryan's house. He got me a chair. He gave me a tour of his garden. He wrote a list of the garden produce in my journal.
After the visit, we went back to Julia's house for lunch - soup with rice and chipilin (a small green leafy herb which grows everywhere in El Salvador). Bryan and a few other boys ate lunch with us. This is one of Julia's missions in the community - no matter how little she has, she feeds the boys who have nothing. After lunch we played UNO - which is a great card game to bring along on any community visit!
Worship was at 4 pm. During the sermon, Pastor Santiago said something which struck me as strange. He said he was surprised when I didn't get on the bus with my friends to go back to San Salvador. (I guess he didn't pay attention to my email messages.) His words have stuck with me, "Linda is living here, wearing the shoes of the community." Well, it is one thing to walk in another's shoes for a while, and it is another thing to live in those shoes for a lifetime. Walking is learning.
To that end - learning, that is, I set aside the last page of my journals for something I call "Julia-isms" These are the wise sayings which Julia inserts into daily conversation. I often do not catch them. I most often have no idea what they mean. When I do catch one, I ask Julia to repeat it and am treated to a long story with the refrán or wise saying at the end. During these days on my own in the community, I learned...
In a closed mouth, flies do not enter.
Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.
He who walks with wolves learns to howl.
Machete, be in your sheath. (keep quiet, sharp words can cut)