By: Lavy Fernandez
Our team’s initial summer in El Salvador has been focused on developing relationships with people. We have become acquainted with many people, from teachers and neighbor inside the neighborhood of de la Paz, where we are currently living, to families in slums and impoverished villages. We have spent a lot of team in Milagro de Dios in particular and have been able to begin relationships with many of the families there. While walking through Milagro one day we met Mama Norma and her family. She and her husband have seven children, a daughter and a son-in-law, and three grandchildren, all aged 25 and younger.
We have spent time many afternoons playing with the children and having good conversations with Mama Norma over a cup of coffee. As we began to become better friends with the family we were able to spend a day at the nearby park and zoo with the kids. The park is only a few feet away from Milagro de Dios. The kids lived around the park even before moving to Milagro and have been frequent visitors for many years, but being able to take us and play with us in the many playgrounds there was an event in itself.
The team got to Milagro at around 9 a.m. to find nine frenzied teenagers and kids taking showers and picking their best outfits for the adventure. Smiles and conversations about what they were going to do with the “chelitos” (fair-skinned children) filled the small champa (shack), as buckets full of water fell on top their shampooed heads.
That day, we came face-to-face with monkeys, crocodiles, and other animals. The kids played on the swings and playgrounds, while some of us picked mangoes off the trees. We finished the day by sliding on overly large cement slides and dancing the Salvadoran version of the chicken dance. The day was filled with laughter and fun, not to mention the chance to continue developing great relationships through experiences with our neighbors.
Our desire to work with the people of El Salvador necessitates us having relationships with them. The beginning stages of our work here are slow and in small steps, but that day at the park was full with hope-- a hope for a day when we can partner together with the people in order to bring about a better tomorrow for all. It is in the development of these relationships that the kingdom of God can flourish and a hopeful future can be formed for all of us