Friday, September 23, 2011

Joy Comes with the Dawn

“Joy comes with the dawn” is the title of one of my favourite hymns in Voices United.  I love being reminded of this truth.  Surrounded by darkness, slivers of hope are hard to see and problems often feel insurmountable.  A good friend of mine told me a story about waking up in the middle of the night and discovering that her child was having a severe asthma attack and needed to go the hospital.  She bundled up her young son and quickly drove to the ER.  Although it was the middle of the night, the lights were on, people were awake and alert and her son had a problem that people there knew how to fix.  The light, the alertness and the knowledge of the place brought a level of reassurance and comfort that had not seemed possible alone and in the dark.  Her son was attended to and with the early light of dawn the two returned home. 

Darkness comes in El Salvador between 6:00-6:30 pm.  Lately, often rain accompanies the darkness.  Lately we have had a number of incredible storms that people tell me are tropical depressions.  On Wednesday night I had the opportunity to watch the rematches of the ADES team and the Radio Victoria team.  While asked to play I declined stating my ankle was still a bit sore.  In all honesty, all I do is take up space on the field…the other women are much more skilled.  Instead I was a loud cheerleader!

The guys played first.  The storm started.  It rained like I have never seen rain.  The street outside the playing field was a fast moving river.  I looked around and thought I am in a climate change commercial!  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures and I don’t think I can adequately describe it in words.   I have never seen this much water come down so quickly or with so much force.  The players continued to play despite being soaked and running in at times ankle deep water.  People here are very serious and hearty when it comes to playing futbol (soccer).  Despite the fact that I don’t think the players liked being cold and wet, they laughed and enjoyed the experience.  Where we play is kind of a high end field, and the spectators sit on concrete steps that have a metal roof over them.  The field is nowhere near regulation size…it is much smaller.  I was sitting behind one goal and at times you could barely see the other side of the field.  We got damp, but nothing like the people on the field.  The storm slowed down to “regular pouring” rain and then stopped.  Somewhere during this the men’s game was over the women’s game began.    In the middle of the rain, there was no point in driving home because some of the roads that some of the people needed would have been impassable and everyone was being transported in one of 3 pick-up trucks, so most people would have been outside and exposed to the rain anyway.   By the end of the women’s game, the rain had stopped and most of the extra water had drained away and everyone went home.   Like my Salvadorian counterparts, I hunkered down, enjoyed the experience and eventually the rain passed. 

As I have shared with many of you, my time in El Salvador has been an incredibly rich learning experience.  However, it has also been without a doubt the most challenging time of my life.  This week a new opportunity has come my way and I feel like perhaps I am metaphorically moving from darkness to dawn.  Starting next week I will be spending Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s at the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (CIS) in San Salvador.  I will be receiving Spanish lessons in the morning and in the afternoons I will be working on the International Election Observer program.  There are National and Municipal elections this coming March.  I will be working on the program and then will be an observer in the area where ADES is.  At the moment the Elections team has people from Denmark, Sweden, USA and El Salvador.  I am very excited about this new opportunity.  I am going to have the chance to deepen my Spanish, work with other foreigners and to work on a project that is concrete and feels meaningful to me. 

I am not sure how my blogging will be impacted.   I think I will probably try to blog on Monday’s so that it will be available on Wed or Thurs when people like to look for it.  However, if there is a power failure or internet issues or other challenges then for sure the blogging won’t happen until Thurs.  I will do my best to keep a regular routine.  Thanks for reading and being part of the journey.  Please don’t panic if there isn’t a new blog at the normal time.  Together we will adjust to this new schedule!

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