for the sake of time, emotional energy, and mental capacity, i am just posting a recent email to a close friend. that´s to say, get ready for nothing special or profound, or gramatically correct, in this blog.
friday night i started making a hammock with wellington. its burgundy and olive green and although i insist on doing the work, wellington is bored as our guard on the night shift and is doing most of the work on it . saturday morning i had encebollado (fish soup, heavy on cilantro) with wellington and soraya as their kids and neighbors kids ran around the house and swung on a hammock and watched weird japonese movies. then i went to visit gabriel and his wife teresa. he´s 78 and is a leather worker and is a character and storyteller and i laughed with them for an hour as i sipped a pepsi he gave me and we talked about this Padre Alberto priest sex scandal thing, the possibility of being a nun (i better not do it out of despair or without knowing what i´d be getting into , because then i´ll just end up like padre alberto) , retreat groups, if they see the face of christ in rostro de cristo, etc. then i hopped on two busses to guayaquil and had lunch with the nuns i know, at which point God was just screaming in my face through every word they said, and i was fed and nourished and had the most real experience of prayer with another person that i´ve ever had in my life. i spent 3 hours there then came home and cleaned the bathroom and we had our neighbors omar and elizabeth and their 4 yr old hyperactive son over for dinner; rice, fried meat, and beet salad, with a pumpkin cake we made for dessert, which was to die for. we chatted about them being robbed a week ago, and elizabeth being worried to ever try to make a cake (hardly anyone here has ovens). got up early the next morning and went to 7am mass with my community, then went to arbolito and spent an hour in intense personal prayer as they were at 9am mass. then amy and i went to pastora´s and spent 4 hours crocheting. i have 13 of 16 squares that will turn into a purse, if the blessed day ever comes when i finish the damn thing. watched the usa brasil soccer game while we crocheted, boo that usa biffed it and lost. then i was heading back to the arbolito house and ended up at jenny and oscars for 4.5 hours. i played soccer with their kids oscarito, luis, and niko, and quizzed them on english words. jenny and i flipped through a magazine from 1990-something and looked at delicious recipes, talked about love, community relationships, God, and she remembered that they forgot to say the rosary that day, as they do every sunday, so i said ok lets pray then, and we rounded up the family and said the rosary toether. then they invited me to stay for dinner and we had rice and chicken and a tomato and pepper salad and a maduro (ripe plantain). then at around 8 i went back to the arbolito house and we had a birthday party (ice cream and conversation) with aide, who is our rostro employee who works with retreat roups and with me at manos, she turned 19 on thursday. she annouced to us that the sociology census she´d been working on for universtiy about media and communications in guayauil is being published in the newspaper, because her data is more reliable than whats usually printed in the paper, which is why its a huge deal. then amy and i had a little meeting about the mission statement we´re writing for our afterschool programs, and we got so stuck on the vision, and realized that its so beyond us that we cant be in charge of writing it. our vision for these programs is that we will have sharp pencils with erasers for every kid to use every day. that we will be fully staffed and can check every kids homework. that we will have a day when no one hits anyone else. that is as big as our vision is. i slept in arbolito sunday night and went to work from there monday morning and gave the first english test of the year. one girl completely flat out copied off a previously given worksheet, but the rest did fairly decent. then i had the absolute joy of sitting in on their faith education class, taught by luis alberto. his lesson was about the time jesus spent on earth after his resurrection, but they interrupted about every 2 minutes iwth an obnoxious ¨espérate profe....¨ and then asked the questions that are important to them: if God sent us to earth like this, why do we wear makeup? is it bad to wear makeup? why do, what are they called, catholics, wear pants, but the evangelicals that live next door to me wear skirts? profe, did you always know all this stuff or did someone teach you too? i sat there cracking up and was fascinated that they have an authentic interest in a class (its the first i´ve seen of this in 11 months), that they are engaging with their catholic faith, and that they have no hesitations to challenge the teacher and completely derail his lesson plans. there is life and joy and challenge every day. there is life.