Category Archives: World Gospel Mission

Adventures in the Market

Sólo he estado en El Salvador cincuenta y siete días

I just got back from the market after working a half-day at the clinic (yes, we work on Saturdays.  Boo.) and wanted to share with you all the joy of the market.

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Here are just some things I love about going to the market here in Jucuapa:

  • It’s one of the places I’m allowed to go by myself so I love it so much as a place of refuge when I’m trying to be by myself.  (It’s safe enough as long as I don’t go deep into the trenches of the market and stay on the outside, as I always do.)
  • Food shopping is really therapeutic for me.  I love it now just as much as when I moved into my house at UNC (the first time I was really on my own.)  It’s all about having a budget, taking responsibility of what I eat, making sure it’s healthy, and having a fun treat on the side 🙂
  • Markets are a huge thing in almost every country in the world.  It makes me feel somewhat nostalgic that for centuries people have gone to the market to buy their locally grown food and here I am doing that in 2013.
  • It’s also cool that for nearly everyone that goes abroad, we all have something in common: braving the local market.
  • It makes me feel really confident in my language and life skills here in El Salvador.  Sometimes I take a second to really soak in the fact that I am buying food in another language by myself and they understand me!  I don’t think I can ever get over that.

It’s a shame that I don’t go more often than I’m able to.

But I also wanted to share with you all how amazing shopping is here.  Some things cost quite a bit (I’m speaking to you, milk, peanut butter, and butter!) but other things, like fresh fruits and vegetables, cost very little compared to the grocery store in the US.  For example, here’s a list of everything I bought today for only $12.71:

  • 1/2 gallon of milk 
  • 6 individual yogurts
  • pineapple jelly
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 lb grapes
  • 1 mango
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 onion
  • 1 package of strawberries
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 handmade tortillas
  • 1 package of oreos (my weakness here in El Salvador)
  • 1 coconut donut (fresh!)

Can you believe it?!  It’s so opposite of life in the US.  Fresh foods (namely, fruits and vegetables) cost so much less that other foods.  For example, the mango I bought cost only $0.35 and a small bag of chips in a store costs $0.25 or $0.50!  That’s not to say that the poor kids in the town eat healthy at all, though.  You usually see them with an ice cream or chips in their hands, which is sad.

But I am so thankful for the hour spent at the market today, enjoying my time to explore, search, buy, and think.  The only annoying thing now is cleaning my fresh food before I can eat it.  That’s actually what the picture is of at the top of this post.  We Americans use a watered-down bleach water to clean the food for about half an hour then thoroughly rinse and let soak in water for another half an hour.  Not the most fun thing in the world but it’s better than spending your day in the bathroom 🙂

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Filed under Bullet Post, El Salvador, Experiences, Food, World Gospel Mission

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.

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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.

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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

Making Tortillas (The Real Deal)

Sólo he estado en El Salvador cuarenta y tres días

If you know me, you know that I like to cook.

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Whether it’s baking cookies for the staff I work with at the clinic, cinnamon toast crunch cupcakes for ladies’ night at the church, or chicken parmesan for dinner, I enjoy it to the fullest.

But this cooking adventure was a little more than I had taken on before; I was going to be cooking tortillas!!  You may remember from a previous post that Kaitlin was astonished that I had never made tortillas before.  (Imagine that, a gringa that had never actually made tortillas… haha)

Well I’m happy to say that I lived to tell the tale of making tortillas, and I’m here to share with you all how to make them.  (Note: I was told that making tortillas successfully on your first try can usually be described as a “happy accident” since there isn’t much room for error.  So I may not make tortillas again soon so that way I have a long time to boast about how well they turned out haha)

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Step 1: Gather ingredients: flour (5 c), salt (2t), baking powder (2.5t), shortening (.5c), hot water(1.5-2c). (M&M container sitting temptingly close is completely optional.)

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Step 2: Mix ingredients together except for water. Pour the hot water into the flour mixture and mix with your hands.  Be warned that hot water and bare hands do not mix well together so be prepared.  Also, make the process as messy as possible.

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Step 3: Knead dough and let sit for 20 min.

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Step 4: Make 18 balls of dough with the dough and let sit again for 20 min.

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Step 5: Roll the balls of dough out and place immediately on the hot griddle.  (Also, do not be ashamed of your PVC pipe rolling pins.)

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Step 6: Cook tortillas only a few seconds on each side.

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Step 7: Take the tortillas off the griddle and keep warm under a towel or in tortilla warmer until served.

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Step 8: Celebrate amazing, homemade tortillas with a celebratory picture!! (No matter how blurry it may be!)

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Step 9 (optional): Brag (humbly, of course!) to every Salvadorian woman you know that you made tortillas for dinner and be prepared for their response: “Oh good! Now you can get married!” 😉

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

Making Tortillas (Or Lack Thereof)

Favorite quote in El Salvador so far: “You don’t know how to make tortillas?!”

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Ha- thanks Kaitlin. As if I didn’t already know I was a gringa 😉

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