After our breakfast in the Hotel, we boarded our NPH bus to see the Mayan Ruins of Tazumal. Our tour guide was old (maybe late 70’s-early 80’s) yet very knowledgeable, confident, passionate, and proud. He led us through the museum and explained the eras, the artifacts, culture, and the people. He wanted to make sure we knew that this historic site was one of the two most important in the Central and Latin American area and beyond. Authenticated by North American archeologists, who were amazed at what was discovered, the Tazumal site in El Salvador was one of two most important in the world. He led us into the very large courtyard outside to show us one of the palaces, which lined up from this site to the highest temple several miles to the foot of the mountain range that we were looking at to the North. Actually we were standing on the grass under which were several other palaces one on top of each other. We were able to climb up the palace in several different locations. The people and their culture were so amazing, so creative and ingenious yet also religious fanatics sacrificing their own people for many years leading to their distinction as a people.
After our 1-1/2 hour tour we strolled the street outside the museum where we had yet another opportunity to purchase merchandise. We then boarded the bus and headed toward one of our current marvels of civilization, the Mall where we had one last chance to buy gifts to donate to NPH or to share with our godchildren. We bought a Spanish/English picture dictionary to donate to NPH’s younger children and two novellas (The vampire Twilight series) and had some lunch. Next, we bused back to our hotel to get ready for one of the BIG celebrations for NPH, the 15th birthdays of the young girls (now becoming senioritas-young ladies. They commit themselves in their faith to God and the Church. Georige and I dressed in our finest, Georgie in her new white top with jade necklace (Wowee!!) and John in his new green shirt (Ooh Haaa!!) both having been purchased in Guatemala.
Off to the big celebration which, of course, began with another Mass. Each young girl was escorted into church by a young man, the young ladies all wearing the same beautiful maroon and gold dresses, corsages on their wrists, hair and make-up on and walking in high heels and their escorts in gold shirts and maroon ties. (WOW) The music was cheery and bright (Olivia on the electronic key board), passionately loud voices, and another Homily by Fr. Ron in which he connects so warmly and directly with a strong message full of love and recognition and a focused challenge. His homily for the young ladies was primarily about how much they have already accomplished, how intelligent, caring, and loving they are and NOW they are not young girls anymore, they are young ladies and more will be expected of them. He focused on helping and serving others, knowing and practicing a “good not bad” life and maturing in their faith.
After the Mass, there were numerous photo ops, and then to the pavilion area where the young ladies and their escorts danced in (you had to be there to see how dignified they were and the finesse they showed) and at one point Fr. Ron and Fr. Ray, and the El Salvador National Director and one other man each danced with the young ladies. After the dancing ended, everyone took some pictures and were literally bombarded for requests for pictures which we gladly obliged. Then we all sat down to eat, we with Olivia and two of her sisters and two friends for a chicken, bean and rice meal with 2 large loaf-like breads followed by cupcakes for the kids and raspberry chocolate cake for us which we shared with our table mates. Then the pequenos and hermanos went back to their dorms to change into more comfortable clothes for dancing. Most were back in 5-10 minutes. We were originally supposed to leave at 8:30 pm but were extended to 9: 30 so we could dance with the children. Yes we danced til we were drenched with sweat and too tired to continue (hard to believe I would say too tired). We then took Olivia to the office where we gave her two books, which she was very delighted. Saying goodbye was very hard but we promised to write more often and include lots of photos. Back to the hotel to sleep one more night followed by a final breakfast in the morning. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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