Day Two

As soon as I titled this post I knew the word for this day was TIRED.  Not just a physical exhaustion, although that was a factor as well, but the mental weariness that comes from a full day.  And let me just say that this day was full to the brim.  God showed up in so many ways.  As He always does of course. 
Morning view from the "prayer rock" at the ranch
Our morning began early and the trek up the mountain lay heavy on my mind.  We found our buddies, loaded in the trucks and off we went.  Little did we know the terrain that was ahead.   Our first stop was in Namasigue.  There we met the preacher, Javier, his family and some people from the community.  Here I learned how to wash clothes in a pila and all about what "community bathrooms" really means.  A pila is a clothes washing experience around these parts and a step up from laundering in the stream.  Water is held and separated in a large stone or concrete structure.  There is a cement washboard on one side where the scrubbing and soaping is done and then a rinse area with "clean" water.  The pila is there for the community to use, I only wish I had snapped some photographs of it to show you.  These women stand over the pila and scrub tediously for hours and then the clothes are hung to dry.  And in the rainy season especially, that is no small feat. 

These boys sat on the church walls watching

 After our short stop we were off to tackle the roads, more like river beds, at an incline, winding around the mountain.  As soon as we would approach one steep hill and conquer that then we would be told that wasn't "the worst".  Really?  I believe the ride had been likened to Jurassic Park by someone before us.  How accurate.  Bouncing around in the back of a pick up truck for an hour and a half while holding the "Oh..." handle was an experience that created an immediate bond for us ladies.  Let me tell you the conversations we had were quite interesting and soul baring to say the least.  The views we took in while driving had me craning my neck in every direction so as not to miss anything;  Ocean, shrimp farms, corn and bean plants, bamboo plants, jungle foilage and ginormous boulders teetering on the edge. 

Roadside view
We arrived, safely and no worse for the wear.  I headed up into the church to meet the women.  There inside this church building were about twenty women, greeting us hesitantly.  Neither of us certain of the expectation.  We gathered in a circle and filled the walls with singing, their loud voices being lifted in unity.  I drank it in.  Awkwardly we tossed a small ball around the circle.  The person that caught the ball had to stand up, state their name and age and whether they had children or not.  It's intention was to be an ice breaker.  It was.  Laughter trumps all language barriers.  We were all laughing when the ball rolled away or wasn't caught.  Even when we sheepishly stood and shared intimate information with brand new sisters.  The lesson began shortly after.  I sat next to a young mother with a nursing infant.  As the lesson was taught I held her Bible.  Although we didn't speak the same language her eyes told me otherwise. 
 Sharing our names and ages
After our lesson we were paired off and were sent to a handful of the women's homes.  Holly and I were buddies, so we were together and somehow voted to hike the farthest.  Great.  Through the jungle we followed Javier.  Over barbwire.  Under barbwire.  Down a rocky path and through a tree split right down the middle.  That one was a tight squeeze.  Uphill and then we arrived.  Hector greeted us warmly and welcomed us to his home.  His wife, Sandra, had been ill and was resting.  Our purpose was to help with house chores and see how they went on about their daily business.  What really took place was a grand tour of their property, a feeble attempt at sweeping and a laughable job of making tortillas.  Y'all this family melted my heart.  Their little girl, all of nine years old, peeled us oranges and served us.  Hector proudly showed his corn fields, chicken coop, cows and fruit trees to us, asking repeatedly if we thought his mountains were beautiful.  Thank the Lord, I was able to understand some of what he said to us, I just couldn't answer in Spanish.  At least not in cohesive sentences.  We were there to help, we didn't.  We prayed we would.  We hope we did.  Sandra, still recovering, served us coffee and worried about our comfort and when she did I saw the face of Jesus. 
 Peeling  our fruit

 Banana trees at Hector's

 Tortilla tutorial

Pure sweetness
In my journal for this day I wrote glibs of what I encountered.  Token words that would spark a memory of all that took place.  My last words were laughter, common bonds, process and overwhelmed.

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