It's a bit of a shock to find I haven't posted since New Year's Eve. But mind you, the silence has only been on the blog channel. Andrea and Judith and I have been having a wonderful time, first in Antigua, and then in El Salvador, where we visited our February medical mission site in San José Villanueva and last year's site, San Rafael Cedros. There we had lunch with Mari and her family and enjoyed Richard Stanley looking healthy and happy with his new heart valve working just as it should - and Judith got to see one of our water filters in use. This was especially nice, because she's donated quite a few of them to PazSalud.
But yesterday was the best, though not at all what we had planned. We had planned going to visit Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a home for orphaned and abandoned children that's north of Santa Ana, a fairly long drive from Suchitoto. We set out, and five minutes later the car announced that it was shutting down - check engine light on, engine coughing, and - we quickly discovered - the temperature up at the ceiling. We called Peggy, who sent out her friend and car doctor Chamba; Chamba arrived in a pickup, put some water in the radiator which promptly began dripping out again which led to a diagnosis. He refilled the radiator and drove the X-Trail back into a taller (repair shop) in Suchi, and we followed behind in his pickup, driven by a young friend. Riding in the back of the pickup was a great treat for Judith, after she'd seen so many Salvadorans in one.
There we were at home when Peggy called to say she had a special friend of Andrea's who'd just popped in for a visit. She sent him over, and it was the famous John Guiliano, who'd worked as a volunteer at Calle Real with Andrea and Margaret Jane during the Civil War, decided to stay in El Salvador, married, settled in Guajila, Chalatenango, and is working to engage the young folk of that community in sports. I'd heard so much about him, and he lived up to billing: joyful, dramatic, very Italian, determined and great fun. We also got to meet his beautiful 15-year-old daughter Rose, and we all went out to lunch at the Café Guazapa and listened to the stories. Imagine, if the car hadn't had a breakdown, John would have missed seeing Andrea for the first time in about 25 years.
I was glad, too, because the day at home gave me time to assemble all the materials that I needed to present today for our customs approval - there were three separate packets, lots of paper, lots of details to worry about, and I needed the time. And today, oh joy, I got each packet into the right office with the right people there to receive it. Primero Dios, we'll get our franquicia in plenty of time this time... And in any case, gracias a Dios for getting to meet John and share a memorable lunch. Oh, and the car repair was well done, we've driven all day today with no trouble. Gracias tambien a Chamba.