I write this while sitting in the room of my community’s house that serves as everything except kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. I can hear dozens of feral dogs barking outside, nothing unusal about that, and smell the instant espresso that many have for their morning wake up. The view from the window on my right includes a neighbor’s flag still up from the Fiestas Patrias of 18 September, electric meters, a rose bush in the front yard, lots of dust, and a lemon tree across the street. I have finished with my breakfast, washed the dishes (except my mug of espresso!), straightened my room, and am now catching up on some writing.
I have been to the Sacred Heart School in Reñaca several times already to watch, look, ask, and listen for ways that I might be able to be of help there. As it is a bilingual school, they are quite excited to have someone nearby who is a native speaker and can help the students with their pronunciation. To get to the school via micro, the local public transportation, takes about an hour and a healthy walk. The ride takes you steadily down, closer to the ocean. The house where I live is up in the hills. As you climb up into the hills, the poverty level increases along with the beauty of the view. The saying here is that the most poor have the best view. It is seen as a sort of ironic justice.
Also, I have had a chance to help here in the neighborhood. This past Saturday, a clinic was set up in the parish hall with a doctor, pediatrician, hair dresser, vet, and podiatrist volunteering their time. There was clothing for sale, and breakfast was served to all. Many came and took advantage of the services for their children and themselves, as well as some pets.
I am not at school today, Monday, because it is our weekly day for gathering as a community. People will come home around 12:30, we will have our main meal together, and then someone will have prepared prayer and an activity for us as a community. Responsibility for this rotates–I still have three weeks to figure out what I am doing when it is my turn!