Saturday March 9. A day at the Beach

Today was another beautiful day in paradise. We woke as always at 6:30 to the sounds of barking dogs and crowing roosters. A lovely sunny day, Birds in the trees and brilliant flowers everywhere. After breakfast and a short worship led by one of the three youth groups, we boarded our two buses and drove through the Saturday traffic down the mountains to the Pacific Coast at La Liberdad. Today was a day at the beach, which is a popular day on every trip to El Salvador. For many in the group it was the first opportunity to see the Pacific Ocean.
We spent the day at a small day-resort on the beach. The beach is made up of black volcanic sand which was very hot to run across to the water. The waves at the shore were very tall and scary at first. But after a short introduction everyone learned the skill of leaping in the waves and trying not to get up ended. There are 18 youth on the trip aged from 14 to 18. The adults were impressed by the endless energy the youth brought to everything they did. After a wonderful lunch of fish, chicken and pizza, some went back for more hours of wave jumping and the youth took over the small freshwater pool to play a version of water polo.

Some of the adults found a place to snooze in the shade. The heat (31C) today is very enervating.
At 4:30 we packed up sandy swim suits and towels and loaded back onto the buses. As traffic was heavy and congested with people driving back into the city, the drivers opted for an alternate route back. That became quite an adventure as the drive took us far out into the agricultural countryside along small, rough country roads. Up one side of a mountain and down the other. Darkness fell, as it does every day at 6:00 pm. On we went driving over 2 1/2 hours, with everyone quite certain that we were lost. Singing ABBA songs helped pass the time. Eventually we arrived at a wonderful Papusa restaurant on the outskirts of San Salvador. With great relief everyone headed for the banos.

Our friends from IBE had organized a terrific dinner of papusas, which are the famous and favourite Salvadoran food. Patties made of corn flour and filled with tasty combinations of cheese, beans and pork.
Leaving the restaurant we only had a 10 minute drive back to Centro Gabriel where we finished the day with a short evening worship, and then had free time to hang out, shower and unwind until lights out.

Sleeping at Centro Gabriel has been very comfortable. With the windows open in the dormitories, we benefit from a cool breeze in the evening. During the night it becomes cool enough that we appreciate the wool blankets provided. Ear plugs are a great help at reducing the cacophony of barking dogs and crowing roosters who seem to have no notion of “lights out”.

Tomorrow is Sunday and we will be off to worship with our friends at Iglesias Bautista.

Phyllis MacRae

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