Thursday, December 16, 2010
Yesterday I picked up Dina Duvon and drove to San Juan Opico where we had a number of errands, all most successfully concluded. What I didn't expect - what was just bounty - was being invited to the home of Doña Carmen Galdámez, one of our volunteers in our Opico clinics, first for coffee and cookies, and then for lunch (sopa de gallina india, country chicken soup, with chicken and salad and tortillas made from corn Doña Carmen grinds herself with a metate), and then to receive enormous sacks of oranges, big calabazas, and huge papayas. I took a photo of Dina standing next to the Galdámez family's flor de pascua, which is what a poinsettia looks like in its native country when it's all grown up.
Then we took Doña Carmen Orellana - the other Doña Carmen - back to her house, and of course received sacks of oranges from her, and some huevos de gallina india, which came with a story. Apparently you can use the whites of the eggs of country chickens to improve your vision. You brush the egg whites on eyelids and over the eyebrow. Doña Carmen O, who is an immensely sensible woman steeped in the healing traditions of the people, used this remedy and had her vision improve greatly, to the surprise of the ophthalmologist. But only country chicken eggs will do: the tame variety are of no use. She also told us about barro, red clay, which Doña Carmen G. had used to cure a huge swelling in her knee. I got some to see what it could do for my arthritic fingers. Carmen O. presented us each with some of those precious huevos, which are the most beautiful pale cream color.
The car was getting heavy now, but Don Gumersindo, who'd been with us all day, wanted us to stop at his house, beautifully set at the top of a hill and quite a good climb from the road. When he came out with a very live hen wrapped in newspaper, I got worried, but fortunately it was a gift for Dina. The hen rode back with us to Dina's house in Apopa, quiet and perhaps content, with no foreknowledge of its likely future as gallina india. And I took my share of the day's bounty - oranges, squash, papaya, eggs, and happy memories of the most generous people in the world - back to Suchitoto.