First, the realities of my life here in the countryside.
The water is scarce, because they are putting in new water lines. But I do have enough in my tank on the roof to take a shower, enough in my pila to do clothes, though it’s almost empty, and enough in rain water barrels to water plants. I, of course, have two large drinking-water bottles. But we are in the dry season – hot, with little rain. I hope they finish their work soon.
Access is still through a pasture to get to Dulce Nombre or down and up a ravine to get to the road in Candelaria. Thank God for four-wheel drive.
Monday I went into Santa Rosa on a few errands and got the car washed. I noticed the back-up lights weren’t working and had them checked. A part had to be replaced – costing about forty dollars. Costs for my pick-up (maintenance and fuel) are among my chief expenses here – the roads and the amount of travel really wreak havoc on vehicles.
Electricity was out on Tuesday, from 7 am to 4 pm. I wasn’t home and so that didn’t affect me.
Internet has been out since Sunday evening and I waited at home on Wednesday for the technicians who arrived mid-afternoon.
But then I have watched as Isaías, the son of a neighbor, has been building a house out of adobe for his family.
Second, the real realities of life.
Tuesday afternoon, I presided at a funeral. The husband of the woman who died, probably as a result of hypertension, is very involved in the church. The couple had also suffered the death of one of their sons twenty-two days before in a motorcycle accident. It was a sad time in the small village, though many people arrived, including the remaining five sons and one daughter, some of whom have studied in universities. The pain was deep, especially in some of the woman’s sisters and in the woman’s parents who were there beside the coffin in the small church.
What can one say – except that grieving is normal but we must not grieve as those who have no hope (the reading form 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that I chose). We prayed for the woman, for her son who died less than a month ago, and I asked those present to pray with me for the wife of a cousin who died nine days before.
As I may have written before, these funerals are not easy, but I find them a place where God lets me be present to serve, offering - I hope - words of hope and consolation.
Third, what makes sense of this all.
Tuesday, before going out to the funeral, I had a workshop for leaders in the villages to prepare them for leading services for Holy Week. In terms of our faith, the mystery of death makes sense only in terms of the death and resurrection of Christ – and our call to share in that mystery and to live with hope.
Sunday, I went to a village that has had a lot of problems in terms of its pastoral life, compounded by a delegate who is a cacique, a dictatorial leader. He wasn’t there at the celebration. I had gone to do the Scrutinies for several young men who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. To make a long story extremely short, we worked through a series of problems, openly, in a pastoral way, which I pray will enable the four young men to be ready for their Eater baptism. It was a moment of grace, when we were enabled to break through, to solve a problem, without recriminations or blaming people for irresponsibility. I reached out in the evening (before the internet went out) to the catechist who had fallen behind in his responsibilities and, I pray, avoid, ill feelings.
Fourth, the little and big joys.
Hanging up the wash this morning, I sense an incredible smell in the air. Coffee plant in flower. It’s one of the beauties here than I cannot share. Not only does if fill the air with a beautiful perfume, but it reminds me of my childhood. Our neighbors had honeysuckle which has a perfume much like that of the coffee flower. Ah. What joy.
I am also beginning to hear the chicharones – the locusts that fills the air with their chirping around Holy Week each year. I also saw the dead body of a chichara, a bigger locust which chirps in the night. Soon the concerts will begin.
This afternoon I have also been hearing the sound of what I think might be a bird – it’s like a warble, with a little water sound. I have yet to see the bird or animal, but it another of the joys of life here in Plan Grande.
And, the chorchas continue to visit.