Monday we went to Malambo to visit the mission service. Father Gonzalo Rendon and his family have been there since October. This is a very poor region with little in the way of economic or educational resources (which always go hand in hand). It is so very dusty and dry here. It is a stark difference from El Centro. Imagin if you can an elegant colonial tourist center next to a marganalized town of forgotten citizens. It is a harsh reality. Besides the dust and heat, what you notice first is that the streets are lean of stores and there were no shops around the church. Only a few modestly scattered snack and drink shops vending the same bags of water (yes bags, not bottles), chips and prepackaged cookies. I have been use to streets solely devoted to selling mea wide assortment of goods. It is a clear indicator of the economic health of the comunity. Father Gonzalo told us that the community suffers from spiritual sinizism. The comunity is tiered of being poor and they just want out and for many they just don't seem t
o have much hope. This is a perspective I pic
ked up from Father Gonzalo's description of the community. I hope to return in order to
get to know the community mentality for myself. It is always hard to report on a regioun from a secondary source, especially one in your secondary language. So take these coments as just that, comentary on a terciary level.
This was the day that the stomach bacteria decided to attack with a vengence. Just to give you a more personal perspective on this day: I love south america and being a missionary. The thing I really regret is that I almost always get motion sick in anything that moves. The primary form of transportation is bus which is all the worse. It takes two hours one way to get to and from molambo I remember thinking on our way there that this bus ride might actually be taking me to hell. On the way back home it was even worse. I was suddenly arrested with chilles from a feaver and what I discreetly call a "bad
stomach". On arriving to our room I promptley oozed into bed and tried as hard as I could to not move a muscle. to shorten this
long story Audra, who had also come down with a feaver, and I opted out of the tuesday trip to Las Islas Rosarios. We had already gone to Playa Blanka (these are the trouist beach islands).
We stayed simi-conscious in bed most of the day. Whether we really wanted it or not we ended up having some very well intentioned visitors checking in on us. Father Rafael's wife's mother is an absolute angel. Although we thought we just wanted solitude, Abualita (affectionate term for grandmother) checked in on us on a regular bases and made clear vegitable broth for us with lemon. It was soo very kind of her and it probably helped us get better more quickly. We also got a visit from a surgeon that was staying two doors down from us. He checked on our symptoms and chatted with us. if you can imagine Audra and I simiconsious in bed with such an assortment of visitors entering our room.
Thanks be to God and Imodium (type tablets) we were back on the road with the Conneticut gang the next day which was one of the most important trips where we visited multiple missions that the church is involved in. What a site when we drove up to Mission San Miguel Arcangel in Sucre. There were two
lines of people lined up all along the road awaiting our arrival. As we pulled up they greeted us with aplause as we exited the bus and began to walk up to the mission center. I shook hands with some but realized I would not be able to greet everyone in the lines that ushered us to the little house that serves as a makeship church, community meeting building and mission
network center. This is the mission
that Carlos (the siminarian I mentioned last week) works in. We were then treated to a dance performance by some of the young landies f the community. They actually had matching skirts, shoes and socks! I don't
know if they already had these items or if they bought them for this performance. It was very well don after a bit of technical music difficulties.
There is such a different energy here than in Malambo. Sucre is actually poorer than Malambo but the people here have so much more hope! There is a reall community drive here to better their lives. Yes they know they are poor and they want a way out, the difference is they see Carlos and the Episcopal church as a means
of colaborating their strong local leadership with a means of obtaining resourses they do not have access to. Here, as is the case with the Episcopal church of Colombia, local leadership comes from the women of the community. In fact women make up the greatest percentage of participants in any of the missions and parishes. This is a community that was built from necesity of displaced persons being run off of their farms in surrounding areas because of the Farc (gorrilla forces). Most of these people had their land taken from them and forced to move to this area with nothing. They would find a piece of land
and build a home using the brocken down wooden boards from shipping crates. This community only has primary education available to the community, that is like elementary school, perhaps through middle school ( I am not sure). The secondary school which might consist of middle to high school is too far away for the families to send their children. They simply can't afford bus fair. Conneticut is hoping to help this comunity purchas a plot of land to build a central building that would serve as a permanant church, school and community meeting area. I am amazed at how well thougt out many of their ideas are. They think practically and thoughtfully. Although I do realize they have lowered there asperations for fear of asking for too much. I hope there is a compromise that can be discovered.