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New Easter Traditions

Sólo he estado en El Salvador cincuenta y tres días

**I’ve actually hit somewhat of a milestone this weekend! As of March 30, I only have one month left in El Salvador!**

Piñatas and eggs filled with confetti.  That’s what my Easters will consist of from now on.

Here in El Salvador, the big thing to do for Easter is smash dyed eggs filled with confetti on top of people’s heads.  Kids get into it, adults get into it, and you can buy four confetti eggs for a quarter so everyone can afford it.  It’s so much fun that I am officially making it a part of my Easter tradition from now on.

Many of the poorer families here in Jucuapa make and sell the eggs and the kids help.  I wondered what was going on last week when I kept seeing the kids at our church with orange, pink, green, and purple-dyed fingers!  The eggs are really very easy to make.


To make them, you use real egg shells.  Dye your eggs however you’d like them, then break the top 1/3 of the shell off and remove the egg inside.  Let the egg dry and then fill with confetti (cut up magazines or whatever paper you have around).  Then glue a piece of tissue paper over the hole at the top of the egg.  Voilà!  You now have eggs ready for the smashing!

On Friday, Kaitlin Hawk and I went to the town square to look at the Good Friday morning rugs as they were being created, and met several of the church kids that were selling the eggs with their parents/family.  Not the kids to let an opportunity go by, 5-7 of the kids hammered Kaitlin and I with flower stems and confetti eggs until my hair was successfully a rat’s nest of flower stems and confetti with a little hair to hold it all together.  Not only was there no place to run, we both didn’t have money to buy eggs to get them back!  Not a problem though, Kaitlin and I bought $1.00’s worth of eggs in Alegría and had them ready when we saw them again on Sunday afternoon!

I had one of the team work members take a video of the payback.  The girl that I first got with the confetti egg is Maria.

I got several other kids with the eggs and was having a great time but then one of my other friends, Teresa, got me as a surprise! I, unfortunately, got that one on video as well 🙂

I loved it so much, I want to bring it back to the States with me.  So watch out next Easter! 🙂

And the other fun thing we did on Easter was a piñata!  We did one at the church during the second service for the kids and again in the afternoon during cell group.  The video below shows the little kids swinging at the piñata.  (And the guy who was picking the kids to swing at it is Timmy, one of the pastor’s kids and part of the family who I live with.)

The poor piñata was a little busted after the kids got to it haha.


So those are two really fun traditions in El Salvador that I wouldn’t mind at all incorporating into Easter in the US!

As for the church service, evangelical churches here don’t make a big deal about Easter because the Catholic church, which is a very large presence in Central America, celebrates it so much and the evangelical churches are trying to show separation from themselves and the Catholic church.  It all seems a little backwards, to not celebrate the Lord’s resurrection as much as I’m used to, but the goal as missionaries is not to be trendsetters, but work with the trends.

I hope you all enjoyed Easter and were able to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection with your own fun traditions!


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Filed under El Salvador, Experiences, Uncategorized, World Gospel Mission

Sounds of El Salvador

Sólo he estado en El Salvador cuarenta y seis días

When you first travel to a new location, your senses are hyper aware of what’s going on around you.  Smells are stronger, sounds are louder, and sights are grander.  But as you become more settled in where you are, you eventually get used to the new sounds, sights, smells, and tastes.  You start adapting to life in a new location more and more to the point where dogs barking at midnight no longer phase you and you start adding more and more hot sauce to your pupusas because it’s no longer as spicy as you first remembered it being.


I knew that those initial sensations would eventually fade so before I became so accustomed to them that I could no longer recognize them as “different”, I started writing them down.  I’ve now accumulated several bullets for each sense (taste, smell, sound, touch, sights).  But for the sake of read-ability, I’m going to split it into two or more posts (since these posts are more word-heavy than picture-heavy).


I’ve written this type of post before when I went to Greece and it’s one of my favorite posts to go back and read from time to time.  It immediately transports me back to that wonderful trip.  Anyway, here’s what I’ve accumulated so far.  I’m already looking forward to two years from now when I can look back and re-read this post and re-live this trip again as well!

Sounds of El Salvador

  • Roosters crowing at 9:00pm, 12:00am, 3:00am, 6:00am and whenever they feel like it
  • Dogs barking
  • Gnats flying around your ears at night when you’re on your computer with the lights out
  • The song that comes on the radio whenever they are about to announce a death in the town
  • Construction on the roads without any warning
  • Pigeons cooing outside your window
  • Spanish that slowly morphs from “babbling” to complete conversations
  • “Andrea” pronounced with a Spanish accent
  • The out-of-tune church singer down the street at dinner on Wednesdays
  • Children’s laughter on Sunday afternoons
  • The blood pressure cuff taking someone’s pressure at the clinic
  • Metal doors of houses opening and shutting
  • Pots and pans rattling in the kitchen in the morning
  • Listening for David’s truck outside the house signaling that he’s arriving or leaving

Sights of El Salvador

  • Funeral processions going down the main street (pick-up truck with the casket at the front and dozens of people walking after it)
  • Trees with the same flower but different color (white, orange, cream, blush, pink, purple, red, etc.) all over the country
  • The view from the top of Alegria’s volcano
  • The beautiful emerald-green color of the lake in the middle of the volcano
  • Signs for ferreterias (hardware stroes) along the roadside
  • People selling green mangoes along the side of the road between large towns
  • The beautiful garden at the clinic from the nurses’ station window
  • Kaitlin’s pet bunny begging for food at the dinner table
  • More ants than you wish you’d see

This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything that I’ve experienced, but what I hope is a good sampling of everything.  Stay tuned for the rest of the list! 


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Instagram-ing My Way Across Central America

Sólo he estado en El Salvador cuarenta días

Besides my blog, one of the best ways to see what I’m doing in El Salvador and Honduras is to follow me on Instagram (@a_morrow_). It’s very easy for me to update it since I take lots of pictures on my iphone and whenever I have internet, I upload them.  But I know that not everyone has Instagram so I wanted to put them here so everyone could see them!

These pictures will hopefully give you some detail shots of what my days have been like here in Central America.


“Packed for El Salvador! #onemoreday #lehhgo”


“Loading up on my favorites one last time #20hourstogo”




“When bunnies fall asleep in your arms>>>>>> #elsalvador”


“One more bunny pic. Because when can you ever have too many bunnies?!”


“Nursing status #elsalvador”


“Watching the UNC dook game all the way in El Salvador #goheels”


“Favorite line in El Salvador so far: ‘You don’t know how to make tortillas?!’ Ha. Thanks Kaitlin :)”


“Definitely the highlight of my week. Just smile at them and you’re instant friends 🙂 #elsalvador


“Joke’s on you, North Carolina- it’s snowing in #elsalvador too! #justkidding #its99degrees”


“Good morning! #elsalvador”


“Teaching this cutie to draw today #elsalvador”


“I call this ‘Andrea Goes International Thrift Shopping’ #dreamcometrue #elsalvador”


“NOM. #cinnamontoastcrunch #elsalvador”


“First day in the lab! (These are white and red blood cells that I prepared on the slide.) #elsalvador


“After the hottest day yesterday, I’m thankful for these clouds and a cooler day. #elsalvador”


“And the baking marathon begins! #elsalvador #cookiesfor30people”

“Seven dozen cookies later… and still not done. It’s a good thing I love baking! #elsalvador #bakingforavillage”


“Homemade taquitos for David’s birthday #allwedoiseateateat #elsalvador”


“Imagine going to the bathroom and looking up to see this… #myliferightnow #elsalvador”


“That time I travelled to #Honduras for a week to translate for a medical team…”


“Puppy time in #Honduras!!! (Also, this girl is going to the BEACH today!)


“Visited Siete de Mayo today- one of the poorest towns I’ve been to since coming to Central America. #Honduras”


“It was so humbling to serve these people medically today. So sad to see their living conditions though. #Honduras”


“Just now realizing how addicted I am to Natural Juice in #Honduras #fourdaysinarow #betterthansmoothieking”


“Happy to be back in #elsalvador (if only for 3 days)! Celebrating with fresh flowers.”


“Literally crossing the #Honduras/#ElSalvador border this morning.”

I hope that was able to show you some more detail photos of what I’ve gotten to experience so far in El Salvador and Honduras! I still have to work on writing those larger main idea posts but limited internet access plus not a lot of free time equals limited blog posts.

Anyway, if you have an account, follow me on Instagram! (@a_morrow_) Thanks for coming and reading!


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A Long Over-due Post

Sólo he estado en El Salvador veinticinco días

After twenty five days in El Salvador, frogs in the bathroom, ants in the kitchen, and sleeping with bug spray on are becoming second nature to me now.  The rooster next door isn’t that annoying anymore but ask me again at 3AM when I’d rather be sleeping. 🙂

My days in the clinic are becoming more routine; I now split my time between the nurses’ station and the laboratory where I prepare the blood that’s been drawn for creatinine, glucose, uric acid, hematocrit, white blood cell, red blood cell, and cholesterol levels.

My Spanish is getting better but I still have good and bad days.  I’m definitely able to understand much more than when I first got here which  I contribute a lot of to understanding individuals’ accents.  I am so thankful for the patience of everyone at the clinic when I talk to them, since having conversations with them have definitely contributed most to my growth in Spanish.  I’m also able to practice my Spanish a lot at church, especially since it’s a different group of vocabulary than at the clinic.

If you know me, you know that I love to bake and cook.  Well ever since I started telling people that, I have been dubbed the “officially unofficial baker”.  There’s a work team from Elon College in Virginia that’s here for a week for their spring break and Debbie recruited me to cook dozens of cookies for when they’re here.  I’ve also baked M&M cookies for everyone at the clinic, cinnamon toast crunch cupcakes for ladies’ night at the church, snicker-doodles for the kids at the church yesterday, the chocolate cake for David’s birthday today, and I’m going to teach Vivian how to make apple crisp sometime.  I’m in baking heaven!

Since the work team is here this week, we’ve been able to do some more exciting outings.  (I basically tag along with any work team that’s here and join in on their activities.  For example, I’ll work half days at the clinic this week and then join the teams working in the local schools in the afternoons.)  On Saturday, we went to a nearby town called Alegría, which is on the side of a dormant volcano.  We actually got to drive down into the crater of the volcano then we all hiked up the outside ridge of the volcano to the highest point.  Not only could you see Alegría and other nearby volcanoes, but at one point you could also see the ocean off in the distance.  Definitely a workout, but oh so worth it!!  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Here’s a sneak peek of what it looked like, but I’m going to write another post just about the trip to Alegría and the volano hike since there are a ton more pictures. 

This is the view from the bottom of the crater in the volcano.  That’s a lake in the middle and it is the most beautiful shade of emerald green.  We ended up hiking up to the highest point, which is on the farthest-most right part of the picture.  It doesn’t look that high from here but there was plenty of uphill climbing.


A picture of me while hiking.  The lake from the previous picture is in the background.  This is only about halfway up the volcano ledge.


One of the views looking out on the valley.  You can see Alegría in the middle of the picture.

I only have a little bit of time before I need to get to the clinic so I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves now.  Now that I have a “normal” routine now, I’ll be able to organize and write posts a little easier so be on the lookout for those!


A typical meal for me for lunch.  I usually eat lunch at the clinic (either bringing my own food) or buying food from the “cafeteria” for $1.50.  This plate includes rice, fish, local vegetables, and avocado.  Repeat after me: avocado for breakfast, avocado for lunch, avocado for dinner.  Repeat.  Yum!


Two of my friends from church.  They were the first girls that I met the first Sunday I came here so they have a special place in my heart.  They are sisters and the girl on the left is Gladys (10 years old) and the girl on the right is Wendy (11).


One of the responsibilities of the clinic is traveling to nearby coffee plantation communities to draw blood.  They then test their blood for harmful bacteria.  It allows all of the smaller coffee communities to have a somewhat “local” healthcare option, even though it takes an hour to drive to the plantation.  This picture is not the best quality, but this is a picture of the volcano nearby the plantation.


This is a picture of a poster in the clinic of the doctors.  Someday I will get an actual picture of them all…


A picture of Cristina, Dolóres, and Miriam on the way to Alegría for lunch one afternoon.  Dolóres and Miriam are nurses at the clinic and Cristina works in the front of the clinic in the secretary’s office.


This is Sara and her daughter, Gabi, in Alegría on the same trip as the previous photo.  Sara is the lab technician at the clinic and also attends the same church that I do.  Gabi is 11 months old and positively adorable. 🙂


Only the largest piece of meat that I (jokingly) tried to eat in Alegría.  This is pork (chancho).


One view of Alegría looking down into the valley.  I think this perfectly captures how much I love the architecture here.  Most of the houses and buildings aren’t in very good shape but they are usually painted bright, fun colors and have beautiful iron work on the windows and doors.  More pictures of Alegría to come in a future post.


The church I attend is called Centro Cristiano Familiar.  The father of the family that I’m living with is the pastor although it is a family affair for the family as Vivian, the mother, leads events during the week and the sons, Timmy and Sammy, play in the band and lead youth group on Saturdays.  This is a view of the inside of the church that I attend as it was decorated for the special Valentine’s day youth group event.  


Several of the kids that attend the church.  Could they be any cuter?! 


The laundry situation here is a little different than what I’m used to.  The washing machine is actually outside and you hang your clothes up to dry on the clothesline.  Although it usually requires ironing all of your clothes afterwards, I love how fresh they feel afterwards.  I’m very lucky that I don’t live next to a restaurant or someone who owns lots of smelly animals, otherwise I’m not sure I would feel the same way.


Silly picture of me and Gladys!


Sara and Pati, the two ladies that work in the lab at the clinic.  I love them because they are so patient with me and my Spanish and encourage me to talk with them.

Anway, this is a little glimpse of what my life has been like here for the past three weeks.  Look out for some future posts! 🙂


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Bienvenidos a El Salvador!

Sólo he estado en El Salvador cinco días…

Where in the world do I start?  I have now worked at the clinic for three days, gone to church and other church activities at the local church (Centro Cristiano Familiar), tried the national food (pupusas), started slowly getting used to the heat, gone to the local market and bought breakfast food for the week, struggled with my Spanish skills, and practiced my acting skills when I haven’t understood what they’re saying but just laugh and pretend like I do.

Other random things to mention:

  • There is a rooster that wakes me up every morning right around 7:00 am
  • I work at the clinic from 8am to 5pm every weekday (which makes the rooster wakeup call above quite convenient!)
  • Spanish is still a struggle (and will be the whole time I’m here) but I’m noticing now that I constantly try and translate things that I’m thinking to Spanish, just in case someone asks me a question.
  • Kaitlin, the missionaries’ daughter, and I made chocolate peanut butter cake in coffee mugs last night after dinner.  Two words: chocolate overload!
  • My blonde hair is making quite the impact with the nurses in the clinic.  They love it and talk about how much they would love hair my color.
  • The Hawks (missionary family) have a pet bunny which basically makes this whole trip worth it.  Yesterday I held the bunny like a baby and it actually FELL ASLEEP in my arms.  Best ever!

Now for some pictures from the past five days…

IMG_1870A picture of the clinic and garden outside.


The Hawk’s pet bunny, Oscar.


Kaitlin and the mug of delicious peanut butter chocolate cake we made in it.


Oscar fell asleep in my arms! Love that bunny.


Gratuitous nursing self picture.


Panorama view of the nurses’ station and the waiting room in the distance.  (If you click on the picture you can see a larger version.)


Papaya!  I bought this at the market on Monday as well as fresh green beans, strawberries, avocados,  and bananas.

I also wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone who sent money to WGM to the David V. King Medical Center!  You all are seriously awesome 🙂


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Leaving for El Salvador

Come tomorrow morning at 7:15AM, I will be on a plane bound for El Salvador for the next three months!

The short version of my plans for those three months is that I will be working as a CNA at the David V. King Medical Center in Jucuapa, El Salvador.  But for the long version, click on the “El Salvador” tab on the header.  That’s where you can find all the good stuff, including maps of El Salvador, a video of the clinic I will be working at, and some more specifics about what I’ll be doing.

I will be updating this blog periodically and as time allows so please continue to drop by! (Or subscribe to my blog to get an email whenever I write a new post.  Just enter your email on the “Follow Blog via Email” to the right.)

imagePacked and ready to go!

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Music Monday: “Cold December Night”

Can anyone else believe it’s December?  Last year at this time I was in the library 24/7 studying for my chemistry 101 exam and bundling up every time I walked out of my dorm in 2 jackets, gloves, hat, and about 3 scarves.  But this year, I barely need a thick jacket and actually ate lunch with my friends outside yesterday!  Strange weather we have in the south…

But even with the lack of cold weather, I’m getting into the Christmas mood with the help of Christmas music.  And the best album I’ve listened to lately is from Michael Buble.  I absolutely love his voice and his songs are so fun and dreamy.

But my absolute favorite song from his album is “Cold December Night” because it’s not only got a catchy tune but it’s also a song I hadn’t heard before.  So please enjoy the sweet serenading sound of Michael Buble!


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My Favorite Quote

Perusing Facebook, I came across a quote that made my day week life.  Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

The mom of a family I babysit for had posted it on her wall and it was such a God-send that she did.  As soon as I read it, I knew it was going to stick with me for awhile.  The quote is from Henri Nouwen, a priest in the 20th century.

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word “patience” means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment…”
– Henri Nouwen

This could not have come at a better time.  God’s been there all along, but I’ve been impatient, and stubborn to letting him in.  But this quote is challenging me to open up to him and live actively in Him.  I hope this quote helps all of you as much as it’s helped me!

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Music Monday: Peace Sign

This week, the hall I live on in my dorm had hall-pals.  You know, like pen-pals, but right across the hall!  So our RA chose our hall-pals for us and emailed us all their names and their room number.  We were supposed to give them a letter or tape a joke on their door or something fun like that.  So for the girl I got paired with, I bought her pretzel M&M’s from the cafeteria (cause they’re my favorite M&M’s) and put them in a cute box with glitter streamers (from a present my mom sent me) and taped it on her door with a little letter.  Cute, right?

But then the next day, I found a note on my door (with some gorgeous handwriting!) and there was a CD inside…  M&M’s might taste good but great music is amazing!  She must have known that I needed more music (and not the top 20 stuff but some real quality songs) because it was a mix CD of all her favorite songs!  There were 20 songs and I had one or two of the songs (from artists like Florence + the Machine and Mipso Trio) but the others I had never heard of before and I love them all!

So forgive me if Lights is a huge band and I should have heard of them years before now but at least I know now.  Oh my, I love college and hall-pals!

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The Best Sestra

Yesterday, I received the best text ever.  I didn’t win the lottery, or get an award for shortest time between waking up and getting to class (which I should today, by the way, I woke up at 8:54am and got to class by 9:02am).  No, I got something better: a text from my best friend in Serbia.  Dina is the foreign exchange student that stayed with me during my junior year of high school and who I got to see this summer.

(All pictures are from my trip to Serbia and Greece this summer.)

Dina and I had several conversations during the trip and how much fun we were having but we also talked about what happened while she lived with us in America.  The main theme was that I stress out a lot and when I allow myself to relax, I’m really easy going and enjoy life so much more.  But I don’t get to see that side of me a lot during the school year because of classes and tests and obligations.

And it’s good not to have fun all the time, but at a point, you start losing opportunities to forge relationships because of the time you’re preoccupied with all that stress.

All of that was to say that while in Serbia, I asked Dina if she could remind me sometime during the school year that I need to remember to de-stress and add some fun into my life.  Well… it just so happens that I completely forgot that I asked her to do that and it just so happens that Dina remembered and sent me the most amazing text ever:

Hey girl! 🙂 you told me in Serbia one day to remind you to loosen up a little it.  As far as I remember, you told me that I should do it, because you tend to get lost in school work, duties and stuff that are taking the majority of your time, so you forget to chill… So slow down a little bit, have some fun and try to enjoy this period of life… Because it should be fun and memorable 🙂 

This is all my hope to all of you, too.  Make sure you don’t become preoccupied with anything (be it school, work, volunteering, or even parties) so much that you forget to form bonds with the people around you!

I’m so thankful to God that he put Dina in my life and works through her to remind me of these great lessons.  So thank you, Dina, for being the best sestra I could ever ask for!


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