Published: July 17th 2009July 17th 2009
The house where toby lives. His room is on the right.
We swung up to San Salvador to visit my buddy Toby, who I met and got to know during my Semester in Egypt
. He instructed us to go to a donut shop in 'Mexicano', and to give him a call once we arrived. After a slight delay with a hearing impaired taxi driver who did not know there was a donut shop in that part of town, we did arrive and give him a call (I usually just pay people to use their cell phones). He then took us one by one on his motorcycle to his new place. He is still working with the MCC
but has been seconded to ANADES
. He recently moved from his apartment and is now living with Jasmin's extended family: his girlfriend's grandmother, mother, 3 brothers, sister, nephew, 3 adult dogs, 7 puppies, chickens, caged birds and cats.
It is a working class crew. Jasmin's mother works in a garment factory (read sweatshop), Jasmin works for ANADES, her brother works as an accountant, and Grandma helps with raising chickens. The home was simple: concrete floor and corrugated metal. However, since it hardly ever gets cold enough to justify
a second layer, thick walls and central heating aren't needed anyway. There were water storage tanks with a wall around them, and that functioned as the shower area (bucket bath) and laundry area. My first night there, when using the outhouse, I ended up sharing the space with a chicken and several chicks. For some reason, they had not gone into the chicken coop that shares a wall with the outhouse, and instead had settled down next to the throne.
For our in town sightseeing, we went to the central area and looked at the national cathedral (where assassinated bishop Oscar Romero is buried. Very close to the cathedral is the Iglesia El Rosario (hanger church), which is a church that is housed in a former airplane hanger, and where most of the decor is made from salvaged metal. I found it to be very impressive with the stained glass and concrete combination. Certainly one of the more unusual churches I have been in.
After a few hours of sight seeing in the center, we went over to meet some coworkers at an office party. Met some of the staff, enjoyed the hospitality of a 85 year old
gal with, as Toby puts it, lots of life in her. Marina works in the medical lab. We ate Pupusas every day.
For the 2nd day, we went over to San Vicente to visit one of the communities that Toby works with. The meeting today was on starting their local community pharmacy, which will be stocked with medicines that they make. He showed them how to make a rub, that is like vicks but stronger. They will be going over many other medicines this year. We got back, drank some beers and then went to sleep for our early start to visit the volcano
After spending 3 nights with Toby, it was time to head up on the bus to Guatemala City, meet with some more folks from an Expeditor's office, and then work our way west.
There are more photos below