Yesterday several of us went to visit Martha’s after-school program. The children go to school from 7:30 until 12:00. Her program starts at 2:00 and goes until 4:00. They handle children from kinders to 6th grade. They work with math and reading skills, get a snack, and then enjoy some playtime. She employs two qualified teachers who are aware of students with learning problems and who give some of the additional help needed in that area. The program is growing. The younger students meet in a storage room at the present time, but Martha has BIG dreams and has recently bought the 4 acres next to the meeting area.
During the morning we revisited the village of La Montanita. The ladies there have invested some profits from their tortilla cloth microenterprise to open a little community bakery. The women of our team joined in the dough-kneading. What they really got into with great gusto was slamming down the dough ball on the table. Frustration and tension seemed to evaporate in the process! And we found out that Becky Lakey can make a mean cookie! Of course the men were busy doing man things–watching the bread-making process, watching the man start the fire in the oven and stoke it with wood, watching the children play, and meeting under the shade tree to discuss “important” things.
Soon Jose Santos’ wife showed up with four freshly picked pineapples. Out came a very sharp machete, wielded with great skill to trim and slice the delicious, sweet and juicy fruit for everyone to enjoy. By the time the pineapples were devoured, the banana bread, garlic bread, milk bread, and cupcakes were baked for our enjoyment. We didn’t have any room for our PB&J sandwiches, so they were all distributed to the locals.
While all this was underway, the men were not really disengaged. We met with Vilma C., the pastor’s wife who brought back information to us about the membership in each of the churches in the community, and how many Bibles they would need for everybody who can read but doesn’t have a Bible. We left her with a good supply of crayons for the students she has been teaching Bible stories. We also met with Manuel Lopez and got a confirmation of the number of latrines to be constructed in the main village and its suburb across the ravine. As we were leaving the village, we spotted a truck coming into the village that appeared to be carrying the piping, concrete, and other materials required for doing those jobs.
Dee-Dee and Allen