Thursday, November 15, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Hey All

just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that thomas and I have arrived safely home and are re-adjusting to our lives here

Personally I have found it a bit challenging at times
I always experience a greater "culture shock" coming back into North America
I continue to struggle with questions of consumption, inequality, lifestyle, and so forth.

Please continue to keep thomas and I in your prayers
while we are, in theory, finished our trip we are still feeling effects of it (and will continue to for the next while)

Peace to you all as we enter into this Christmas season
I pray that it can be a time of joy and wonder as we await our saviour's birth.

Thank you again.

In His name,
Emily and Thomas

Monday, November 12, 2007

on our way home....

so we are now in the salvador airport.
on (can you believe it) free internet!

our bags our checked and we are ready to it appears we are the only ones boarding.....or atleast the only ones an hour early.

we said goodbye to david and suzannah....and the dear kittens!

we had a busy sunday with packing, shopping, two churches, and all the little things that needed to get done before getting all the music that we want from david and suzannah´s computers!

we said our goodbyes to the church in the morning (emmanuel bautista) and then later in the evening to ruta 3 16

it was really an amazing experience to be a part of and observe and be so welcomed into two very amazing communities.

it is so hopeful to see God`s spirit moving so powerfully among this new generation of Christ followers/seekers.

now for real signing out until we reach home

que dios le bendiga!
tom and emiliy

Sunday, November 11, 2007

signing off...

Bienvenidos a La Republica de Guatemala.

we are back safe and sound from Guatemala.
Here we are riding on the bus just after passing through the border (where i sort of got into an argument with these two guys who run the washroom- they made the Salvadoran man in front of us pay 1 Quetzal to use the washroom and then told us it was 2 Quetzales. So i said "2! but you just told that guy it was one! Why is it two for us and one for him?...because we're gringos right?"
tom just said "'s ok...just pay's ok"
i eventually gave in and paid the 2 Qs.
hahah. oh brother)

Here I am at the bus depot after we RUSHED to make a bus, missed it by 10 minutes, and then had to wait and hour and a half for the next one!
this was how i felt at the time- I had thomas document it for me.

it's hard to believe that this is our last day here in El Salvador!
and it is a full one
this morning we will go to Emmanuel Baptist Church for the last time, then we'll go downtown for a few last minute gifts we want to pick up, then it's home to pack up all our stuff (we are coming home with double the amount we came down with!) after which we'll go out to church with Ashley and Elvis again.

and tomorrow our flight is at 8:00 in the morning...which means it will be an early day for sure!

i need to get going on some things
but i wanted to let you know that we had a good trip to Guatemala
we didn't end up getting to Lake Atitlan which was disappointing- but it was just way too hectic. too much to do and not enough days
we will just have to come back again : )

here are a few random photos of us from around Antigua.

right now one of the kittens had managed to climb up on the couch and is snuggled up beside me
they are a bit crazy now.
they cry all the time and have started to pee

today we are taking two to church to give away to their owners
it will be sad to see them leave
but they are a bit crazy- having 5 of them in the one house can get overwhelming!

(for suzannah's birthday we mad them little party hats! hahahah)

I don't excpect to have time to write again before we leave tomorrow.
I may or may not get to post once we get home (to let you know that all is well)

but until then
thank you again for interest in our trip, and for following along with us.

peace to you all
this is thomas and Emily
signing out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


we made it!

9 and a half hours after leaving the hour and a half wait after missing our bus by just TEN MINUTES...two taxis and two buses later...after watching bad spanish music videos and cheesy mexian movies for over 6 hours...we are finally in Antigua.

it's exhausting just talking about it.

but we are so glad to be here
and are excited to go eat some real food (we have eaten a lot of fried plantains and animal crackers today)
hopefully vegetables

tom has a hello kitty bandain on his finger right now.
and he is INSISTING that i admit that we are in the nicest McDonalds right now
He's excited
i am just ashamed!

peace to you all
off we go to explore Antigua...

Guatemala here we come.

it's 6:59 am and I am up, dressed, and ready to go adventuring!

I will have to wait another hour though, as tom is trying to sleep in a bit in order to fend of getting sick.
Both of us have not been feeling great lately.
Yesterday I felt nauseous for a lot of the day, but so far this morning I am doing well.

We were planning to head off to Guatemala yesterday, but plans changed and we will go this morning (wednesday) instead.
One less day at lake Atitlan- but at least we will be feeling well enough to enjoy it.

Yesterday turned out to be full of blessings right here in San Salvador
In the morning tom and I did odd jobs here at the Nacho residence
We are in the process of making them curtains because they have two HUGE sets of windows and during the really hot summer here the sun beats in and it's impossible for them to use the room.
Now, with the beautiful blue curtains in place, there is a soft blue light and it almost feels like we are under the sea!

Tom worked hard in the morning on taking out a broken doorknob and replacing it with a new one- now the room i sleep in had a door that can close which is wonderful news!

In the afternoon tom and I got to go with some friends here (Marty's sister Ashley and her husband Elvis- here are a few photos of them)

to Ashley's orchestra practice. She plays the flute for a symphonic orchestra here in San Salvador and the practice was great! A little bit of West Side Story and some hungarian dances came alive in the basement of the San Salvador school of the arts.
On the 20th they are performinag at the president's house! We wish we were still here for that.

We will try and update during out stint in Guatemala- but if we are not able to then we will post when we get back.

well, as i still have 40 minutes until i have to wake up tom i will put up a post about our beach trip this past weekend.

vamos a la playa!

Beach Bums

Welcome to beautiful Barra de Santiago!

I have pretty much determined that it is next to impossible to travel anywhere new in Latin America and not get lost.
this trip was no exception
After a solid 3 and a half or four hours of driving (to a place only 2 hours away) we finally arrived at our weekend destination:
Capricho Guest House.

I had found this place on the internet and none of us knew anything about it, but it turned out to adventure (like everything else)
The guest house is in a GREAT location. Suzannah said it is all about paying for the location over the accomidation.
Capricho had beautiful guest rooms (here below)

unfortunately they were all full and so the 6 of us had to use the "rustic" cabin as they so eloquently put it.
The cabin was rustic all right!

it looked exciting from the outside...
but the inside was a bit of a different story

looks can be deceiving
but please, don't be deceived
this is a photo of the most uncomfortable beds I have ever slept on.

let's take a closer look shall we....

you are very correct
those ARE rust stains all over the bottom of the mattress
and yes
you CAN feel almost every single spring when you lie down on the lumpy mattress.

so i am not trying to make this sound like the worst thing i have ever gone through
but it was pretty brutal
it was so hot the night we stayed and the electricity went out for 5 hours in the evening so there was no fan to cool us off
eventually it came back on- it was a God send.
i made it through the night, waking up every few hours and praying that it would be light soon so i could get up and stop worrying about a cockroach (Which i had found just before going to bed) pitter-pattering across me!

Tom, Beto, and suzannah (for part of the night) slept outside in hammocks
tom had a great sleep - comfy, breezy, and cockroach free- out under the stars and palm trees

I also woke up in the morning with a HUGE lip from a mosquito bite.
very attractive.

But enough about the sleeping.
onto the really important stuff:

Boogie boarding!

and surfing!

Unfortunately I have run out of time
I need to go wake tom up so we can head off to Guatemala
we'll tell you more about our beach shenanigans when we are back.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Blustery San Salvador Evening

As i sit here on David and Suzannah's "couch" (which is what tom pulls on the floor each night to sleep on...and is made out of the same material as bus seats...and has no is more like a bed than a couch really) I sit here I can hear the wind howling outside our windows
it almost sounds as if there like is a tropical storm about to hit...

Suzannah reassured us, however, that this is totally normal

Once the rains stop the wind begins.

Tom and I didn't really research the weather before we came on this trip (word to the wise: ALWAYS research the climate before going on a vacation!)

We arrived here in the rainiest month of the year: October.
I had heard it was the coldest month (which is true) and I was all about going down when it wasn't over 30 degrees and scorching hot. (El Salvador gets ridiculously hot)

I didn't realize then, however, that with the cool air came the abundant rains.

When we first arrived I am pretty sure it rained every day
if not multiple times during the day

(I am not sure if you can tell how rainy it is in this picture- let me assure you. it is VERY rainy.)

sometimes it was only for the afternoon, but frequently it was just like a vancouver day!
I was sick during this time though, so we were pretty much house ridden anyways.

As i began to feel better the weather cleared up as well.

Sunny days dawned upon us morning after morning
and the warm sun felt perfect to our soggy bodies.

Along with this beautiful sun however, comes the winds
Apparently every year after the rainy season there are incredibl winds.
Suzannah remembers thinking the house would be blown away once because the winds were so strong.
The one unfortunate thing about the wind is the creaky doors in the house
They are very good at keeping one awake into the night, or waking one up at the oddest hours.
Thankfully a shirt or towel stuffed under the door does the trick quite nicely to keep it in place.

This past weekend tom and I, David and Suzannah, and two young adults from the church, Beto and Cleo, went to the beach!

I am looking forward to putting some photos up here but they are still on our camera at the moment.
here's a sneak peak:

1. Tom, Suzannah, David, and I are all burned- to different degrees. but none the less there is a lot of aloe vera consumption going on in the house right now.

2. Tom is a surfer dude

3. I can officially boogie on a board

4. Ants can find food anywhere- even in a bag tied to the ceiling rafters.

5. It is impossible to go anywhere new in Central America without getting lost.

So much to tell
and the end of our trip is quickly approaching!

This week tom and I are planning to head off to Guatemala to visit famous (and beautiful) lake Atitlan (below).

the plan is to leave tuesday morning and return some time on the weekend.
The only possible defect is that tom has caught a cold and has an ear and sinus infection right now.
And my tummy has been quite upset all day long.
We are hoping these are only minor setbacks and that we can proceed with the trip as planned.
please keep our health in your prayers and our safety on this trip.

We will try and keep you updated but we may not be near any good internet spots so we may not get to post for a while
but keep checking just incase.

once again,
thanks for your support, prayers, and love on this trip
it's nice to know you are following along with us.

peace to you all.

back to the wind.

(here is a photo of us at Suzannah's birthday lunch)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ah pupusas- how we love thee!

It is almost shameful to realize that this far into our trip I have still not taken the time to explain the masterpiece that is the Salvadoran Pupusa.

For those of you unaware of this Salvadoran jewel, a pupusa is a Salvadoran food that is comprised of a corn or rice patty (usually corn) filled with your choice of beans, cheese, beans and cheese, pork, shrimp, etc, etc. etc. and then grilled.
They are eaten by many Salvadorans for both breakfast and dinner (but never lunch) and are a very affordable meal.
A pupusa can range in price anywhere from 25 cents to 50 cents....maybe more but i have only seen them up to 50 cents.

It's quite incredible to watch them being made by the women here- their hands fly with the dough as the put filling inside, roll them around, and stick them on the grill to cook.


I think my favourite part is the delicious salsita (tomato salsa) that you get to eat them with.
they are especially good cooked over a wood burning stove.
plus it is fun to eat without utensils.

here is a photo i just found on the web of pupusas.
they also come with this coleslaw sort of thing- but tom and I don't eat that because we don't want to get sick and it;s hard to know how long it's been sitting around.

and for all those interested here is a photo of some people making the largest pupusa in the world! (actually, i here there is debate between this one and one made in Los Angeles) It was made in Olocuilta, El Salvador (the pupusa capital of the country- I have been told there are over 100 pupusarias all on one single road!)
The pupusa is ten feet across and afterwards they broke it up and people from the town all enjoyed it together!

i actually can't figure out if these are photos from Los Angeles or Olocuilta
i think they are from LA...$file/Pupusa%20Power1.jpg

Here is a photo of us eating pupusas with David and Suzannah and some friends of theirs who just happened to show up at the same place as us.

and here is, finally, a photo of David and Suzannah for those of you who do not know who they are (or for friends who would like to see a recent photo)

We are the Campeones!

Today (october 31st) is my mom's birthday.

happy birthday mom!

This morning tom and I gave her a call to celebrate the happy day and send our love and best wishes her way.

Along with our birthday greetings, however, came some very surprising news! (no. it's not as surprising as what you are all thinking. hahahah. nice try.)

Thomas was quite excited to tell my mom that he had recently been mentioned in the sports section of a Salvadoran News Paper
no joke!
Thomas is practically a Salvadoran sports legend!

ok ok
so i am exaggerating- but only slightly.

Since we arrived tom and David have been playing badminton almost every night at a local badminton club.
The first night thomas came home exhausted, soaked with sweat, and unable to even lift his fork to eat dinner because he was so tired and his muscles ached so badly.
As time went by he got better in shape and was less sore.
After only a few nights of playing he decided to sign up for the Salvadoran National Badminton Tournament!

A week or so later the tournament began.

what can i say
Tom is a natural (and that is not just a girlfriend perspective)
He did GREAT
Since he is so quick on his feet and has long legs and arms he had great speed, nice reach, and quick thinking.

Tom was placed in the 4th division because he had only been playing for a short time.
He won every game he played (I will leave it up to you to ask about the age of most of his opponents. I am not sure i'm at liberty to tell....)
lets just say that in the second division a ten year old beat plenty of really good adult players to come in second place.
(there are the few amazing child prodigy badminton 15 year old girl had won third place at the pan american games)

and while the finals were close he emerged victorious!

Not only did he get to take away bragging rights but ALSO a sweet trophy!
I am sure this will find a home on the mantel for years and years to come : )

David was also victorious and took first place in his division as well (which was one above thomas.......and thomas would like to mention that of the top two players in this division thomas, was victorious against them the majority of times that he has played them!)

As you can see they were both quite excited by the trophies.
And Suzannah's been very kind about making room in the bed for david's trophy to go between them.

vive el badminton!

Ants in my pants

"Ants in my pants"
no longer just a figure of speech for thomas and I ....but here I am getting ahead of myself.

Let's start from the very beginning (a very good place to start)

Last weekend thomas and I went on a camping trip with the youth group from Emmanuel Baptist Church (the church david and suzannah work with here)to a city about 2 hours away called ¨Alegria¨ (Which means joy in Spanish) Here we are getting ready to pile into our mode of transportation......a little pick'up truck that is made for 5 but can magically fit 13 people and their luggage! (they don´t make trucks like this in canada).

After a very long 2 hours of being smooshed together and driving up winding roads (Alegria is on top of a volcano) we finally arrived...only and hour and a half late for breakfast!
The purpose of this trip was to make some connections with the youth in Alegria. However, once we arrived we discovered that things weren´t quite how we had expected they would be. Instead of us hanging out with the youth group and doing service projects together it ended up that a handful of the older youth there were planning to lead a camp for our youth to build them closer together (encourage team work, etc.). All great things, but not exactly what we were expecting.

Suzannah said that things like this happen all the time in Latin America. Apparently people are not as direct when they communicate so it is not unusual to arrive somewhere and find out that things are different than you had thought they would be.
this time we were lucky that the miscommunication wasn´t a bad thing.

Within El Salvador there are two major opposing political parties that try and gain power. One is ARENA which is more right wing and is currently in power. They have been in power for the past 15 years or so i believe. David and Suzannah told us that the founder of ARENA was the man who ordered the assassination of Archbishop Romero (who we will talk about later on). It´s crazy to see how power is abused here.

The town of Alegria is an FMLN stronghold.
the FMLN is the name of a guerilla group that emerged during the civil war here. The group was named after a socialist peasant leader Farabundo Marti (whose photo was spray painted on a wall right next to Romero) who was killed by the military in the thirties.
I am by no means an expert on the subject, but i know that the group was made up primarily of peasants fighting for rights and an end to violence and injustice against them, as well as some left wing intelectuals. Basically they were a conglomerate of different groups fighting for rights in different ways, some of which were violent.
It was after the peace accords in 1992 that the FMLN became a political party and they continue to attempt to win elections, although ARENA remains in power.

Different areas of the country hold different political affiliations and it is easily depicted by the massive spray painting all over...well....everything. I wasn´t able to get any photos but if you drive down the high way in a pro ARENA zone you will see red, white, and blue (no, it´s not after the american flag...or the french.) spray painted on almost every single post, and even random rocks sticking out of the side of a cliff. Anything big enough to hold these three colours is quickly tagged).

Above is a photo from Alegria of FMLN spray painted on the side of a building

This photo above is also from Alegria and is a spray paint impression of Archbishop Oscar Romero who was a martyr here in El Salvador during the Civil war. Romero was appointed as Archbishop of El Salvador in....1977 i believe.
Romero was chosen because the oligarchy, the right, and military (who were controlling the country) felt he was a ¨safe¨ choice (someone who would not vocally oppose them). In march of 1977, however, Romero's close friend Bishop Rutillio Grande was murdered and many believe this was the point/beginning of his "conversion".
After this point Romero began to speak out against the repressive acts the military was committing and to stand with the poor. Jon Sobrino (who you will hear more about later) says that from this point on Romero recognized that the God he believed in was a God that stood with the poor and the oppressed. He could no longer separate the poor from God.

While we've been here thomas has learned quite a lot about Romero from an interesting book he is reading. Here is some of the information he has uncovered:

Although originally not a supporter of the church entering into the political realm, because of his fear of the church partnering with the government rather than the people, after his conversion it became apparent to him that the church should be rejoicing at the fact that in making a stand with the poor and the oppressed it was being a testimony of the church incarnate in the problems of the people. He was learning that it is to the glory of God to stand with the persecuted.
He was also learning that those whom he had thought were living out their faith by not entering into the political realm, by not recognizing the persecution of campesinos, they were showing that they had greater connections to power, rather than the people.
"A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the powers of this world- that church has good reason to be afraid! But that church is not the true church of Jesus Christ" -Archbishop Romero.

Although opposition from the institution of the church was very disheartening, it gave Romero solace to know that radical following of the gospel has historically always been met with opposition and division.

More than just learning about this great God who stands with the poor, needy and oppressed, and is their liberator, their defender and their life stream, and is crucified for them, and stands with them in their pain, Romero was learning that "With (these) people, it is not difficult to be a good sheperd" - Romero

(much of this information is my/thomas, interpretations of the book by jon sobrino ¨witness to the kingdom¨)

There is SO much to say about this incredible man whose life was a gift to so many Salvadorans (and still is even today).

but now that we have gotten incredibly side tracked
let´s continue with the story....

After a breakfast of pupusas (nothing says El Salvador like pupusas) we started to climb up the volcano. The plan was to climb up to the lagoon (in the crater of the volcano!) and then camp there for the night.
I had previously asked David how long the hike was and he reassured me that it was only 45 minutes or so. I was glad to hear this because I was still getting over my sickness and was weak from so many days of nausea and everything that comes along with that

I´m sure you can guess what happened next...

After hiking for about half an hour we took a rest and i was feeling pretty tired.
It was then that our guide, Pedro, said to us ¨only three hours left¨.
sorry. what was that?
I laughed it off and told tom that pedro was making a joke about it being three hours

A little while later, as i became more and more unsure, I asked Pedro myself....
¨so much longer until we get to the top? it´s not REALLY three hours right?¨
¨No ¨Pedro assured me...¨it´s three hours more¨


oh brother.

and here is where the REAL adventure begins (although the 13 of us in a pick up was a good beginning as well).

Here are David and Suzannah with two of the Youth (Danilo and Carlitos) with only 2 and a half hours left to go!! (or so we thought)

so on we hiked....and hiked....and hiked
because we didn´t know that the youth group had planned this hike for us none of the kids had come prepared- almost all were in jeans and a few were even in dress shoes (one girl didn´t even have socks!)

but on we hiked....and hiked....and hiked...

Finally we made it to the top!!
And when we got there, guess what....
It was so cloudy that the beautiful view we had spent hours climbing up to...was no where to be seen!
Apparently, Pedro told us, you can normally see the beautiful green volcanic lagoon.
but all we saw was grey clouds.

don´t despair!
as we rounded a corner, through the clouds we caught a glimpse of green water
all of a sudden the youth were no longer complaining
it didn't matter that we had been climbing for hours in jeans and dress shoes, or even that it was starting to rain on us.
All of a sudden this feat they had accomplished (climbing to the top of a volcano- which none had done before) overtook all of the complaining and tiredness.
it was so encouraging to see these young people excited about what they were able to accomplish together.

When we got to the top of the crater we found a military base hidden in the wilderness. The soldiers were nice and gave us water to drink.
Part of me wondered what exactly they were doing high above this lagoon...

tom managed to snap a photo of them as we were leaving.

If we thought the way UP the volcano was tough, we didn't know what was coming!
On the other side of the military base we started down a single file path.
While on the way up the volcano we had been climbing up a road that was a good three people wide, all of a sudden we were enveloped by the volcanic jungle all around us.
Up ahead of the group one of the youth from Alegria led the way hacking down bushes and plants with a machete so we could wind our way around this incredibly steep ridge.
Pedro (who was walking at the back with us) told us that because of the altitude and the rainy season the foliage up here grows SO quickly. He said that within only FOUR DAYS this path would be completely covered up again!

As we walked down and up and around and down again along this very steep ridge (that at times was a little scary) the clouds began to dissapear and slowly the lagoon came into sight.
it was beautiful.

we came across a ton of beautiful plants, trees, and flowers including this bush below.
anyone know what it is?

if you guessed coffee than you are correct.
the seeds will turn red when they are ripe and then you harvest them, break them open and the white coffee bean is inside.

Here are tom and I with the lagoon in the background on our left.

Allow me to get back to the title of this post
As we were winding our way along the path i suddenly felt the most intense sting of fire on my leg
i yelled
as i pulled up by pant leg to try and figure out where this fire had come from I saw ants crawling all over my leg, all the way up to my knee
I had, unknowingly, been standing on an ant hill and they had climbed up my shoes and then UNDER my pants all the way up my legs.
The bites were awful
For the next few hours I continued to have various ants make their way up my pants and leave me with fire bites.

If i look at my legs, over a week and a half later, I can still see the red bumps from the dreaded "hormigitas".
Thomas also faced the wrath of these guys, although luckily his bites faded away quite quickly.

As we continued to walk the rain came. and came. and came.
sometimes in light spurts, and other times harder
by the time we were done our hike of OVER FIVE HOURS many of us were soaked.
As we walked tom passed the time by picking all the stunning flowers around us (although one was called "the flower of the dead" we weren't too sure about that one!) and beautifully adorned my hair with them.
By the end of the hike my head was a walking garden!

While hiking along I also asked Pedro a bit more about the paths
I was curious to know how old they were, if they were used by soldiers in the war, etc.
Pedro told me that, sure enough, this was the only path that had been used for...well....ever.
He also said that these same paths were used by both military and guerillas during the war.
It was powerful to think that we were treading upon such historic ground.

Unfortunately after our hike the batteries in our camera died so we couldn't capture on film much more of the adventure.

as if the 5 hours of hiking (in the rain...with the ants) wasn't enough, when we got back to the base camp tired and wet and hungry
it REALLY started to rain.
and it rained and rained and didn't stop
we saw two tents set up at the camp, and after a few minutes realized that one of the tents didn't have a bottom.
oh brother.
the lucky people sleeping in that tent would be soaked from the ground AND eaten alive by ants.
The other question in our mind was "how are we supposed to fit 13 people AND our luggage into ONE tent??"
as the rainy and windy afternoon continued we began to re-think this whole camping thing
Looking around we realized that NONE of the youth had rain coats. most were freezing cold and even one had chattering teeth (because he had no sweater! david lent him one though).
Eventually, after being freezing cold, soaked, and standing in the pouring rain playing camp games we convinced the youth from alegria that we should stay back in the town in a large hall.
The youth came around to the idea, but as one of the leaders was saying "maybe we should stay a bit longer" the huge tent (with no bottom) flew over from the rain.
it didn't take much longer to convince him we should leave right away!

we all managed to pile into the truck (this time over 15 of us) and got back to alegria where we ate dinner drenched and cold.

we were SO happy to be sleeping out of the rain though,and some nuns from a nearby church lent us mattresses to sleep on!
During the night the rain was INSANE.
under a tin roof it sounded even louder.
some people found themselves under big leaks and woke up with huge wet spots on their blankets.

In the middle of the night i woke up afraid
I was scared that there was so much rain that there would be a mudslide or that we wouldn't be able to get down the mountain the next morning.

As i sat there in the dark scared I thought to myself "I wonder if this is what refugees in camps feel like"
all of these people crammed together on thin mattresses, wet, tired, itchy from bites...I imagined what it would be like to be in a place like this AND be fearful for your life
I don't know what I would have done if men with guns had burst through the door at that moment.
The fear I felt and the pain i felt for people who are in this situation now or have been in the past was immense.
I'm sure it was only a fraction of what their real pain was like
but it all felt very very real.

The next morning we awoke to, you guessed it, more rain.
it was incredible
it just didn't stop!

The youth from alegria came and met us and we found out they had spent the night at the lagoon! All of them in one tent that leaked horribly. By the morning there was a little pool in the middle of the tent and only 2 of them had actually slept. (and one of them who got SOME sleep actually slept in a truck!)
we were very glad we had not stayed there. i just don't know what we would have done!

after breakfast and some games we were faced with the dilemma of the rain
there was 13 of us to get back to San Salvador (along with all our stuff) and it was raining outside.
In the end all of the kids managed to cram into the cab of the truck while tom, suzannah, and I sat in the back with our rain coats on and hiding under a big black tarp with the luggage
it was a very long 2 hours being cramped back there.

During this time I got to thinking again
Now I was thinking about what it would be like for someone to have to flee from their home under cover
Imagine being, for example, a slave trying to escape their master by hiding in a crate, or under the tarp of a truck
it must have been horrific!
cramped, dark, damp, scary.
Again my heart felt a little of the pain that so many people have had to face.

And just as i had imagined, there were quite a few mudslides that blocked peices of the road....unfortunately we didn't have a chance to take any photos, because our batteries were dead.

The whole ride wasn't a disaster though
Suzannah and I decided to sing as many christmas songs as we could remember
so as we sped along the high way streams of "O holy night" "jingle bells" and "what child is this" floated through the air.
once we had exhausted the christmas theme we moved onto musicals....annie, the sound of music, grease....
and eventually onto worship songs.

finally we made it to the church (after a few downpours and with very achy bums and backs)

after dropping off the kids at their houses we came home and rejoiced in the comforts of a roof over our heads and a warm shower to wash away all the dirt and grime from our trip.

there you have it
El Salvador style.