We finished school and have gone marathon shopping with Miriam (she’s a shrewd shopper) and Willian’s the driver (you don’t waste time in traffic with him, he knows El Salvador like the back of his hand and has never lost a game of chicken and probably never will)
Finishing school was bittersweet. We loved CIS, the teachers and we had a great host family. Leaving them was like leaving family. We all worked well together and there was a comfort in their company. Like we all know, life marches on so we said our goodbyes and put our shopping shoes on.
In the previous weeks we did pick up a lot of small stuff, I mean a lot. We still needed a comedor (dining room table and chairs, chinadora (China Cabinet where you keep your dishes, utensils, small appliances, cubiertos, (knives forks and spoons) and all food stuffs. We also purchased a box spring, mattress, end table, amario (a free standing wooden closet), refrigerator, stove with a horno (oven, all of it run on bottled propane), living room set and air conditioner.
So the timeline was on Monday by 1 PM we were out just pricing things. Miriam was a great help and did I mention a “shrewd” shopper. We decided that we shopped on Monday but Tuesday we buy. On Tuesday we were in the downtown shopping area of San Salvador, bright and early. It reminded me of the scenes from New York City in the early 20th century immigrant open market areas. It was a beehive of activity. You name it and there was a shop or someone out of the back of a truck selling it. Food, furniture, linens, plastic products and cleaning supplies were all being sold. Bikes, cars, trucks, carts and were everywhere. But furniture was our mission (excuse the pun). By 11:30 everything was bought and delivered except for large appliances, the bed and air conditioner. Miriam kept us moving and buy 2 PM everything else was purchased and being delivered, sans the air conditioner. On Wednesday the air conditioner, paint for the inside of the house, some groceries for the week were purchased and the moving truck was scheduled for Thursday.
On Thursday the moving truck was late for a variety of reasons and we didn’t get packing till 1 PM. Let’s back up. After lunch I hear them say the moving truck is here, I walk out and my jaw drops. This was no 24 foot box truck. It was an open truck of about 17 feet bars on the sides. My thought was “Are you, kidding me, ARE YOU (fill in the blank) KIDDING ME?”. About 1 ½ hour later it and Willian’s truck were loaded with everything we purchased, our luggage and the six totes of other supplies we brought. I wouldn’t want to play tetris with these guys. Every nook and cranny of the camionetas (pickup trucks) had something in it. If something was hanging over the edge (sticking way out) we tied it down with rope (rope that I think was used by Columbus). Think Beverly Hillbillies.
I’m not being critical of how things are done. I’m making the point that stuff just gets done down here. Every time this Estadounidense thinks, “are you kidding me” they say no and prove me wrong. It’s amazing what you can do with little resources and it’s a testament to the human mind. I don’t see the Salvadorans throwing up their hands and saying nope, we’re stuck. They critically troubleshoot and problem solve based on the resources at hand and it generally works. My dad was like that, he was a great depression kid, meaning frugal who didn’t waste a thing. He could fix anything with electric tape (duct tape was too expensive), a wire coat hanger and a staple gun. That lineage will come in handy down here.
Long story short we have landed in El Maizal safe and sound. The community helped unload and we already feel like family. They’ve given us mangos, papayas, tortillas and best of all, their friendship and love.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
Tomas y Dianna