Now that I am done lecturing myself, I would like to introduce you to Pimpa!! Pimpa was one of the first friendships we made upon arriving in El Salvador. She lives in Las Brisas (where World Partners built for a number of years), and is one of the only people from there that still attends church. We had heard through the grapevine that she makes the best pupusas in town. We also learned that she is a single Mom to two beautiful daughters, Guadelupe 13 and Marienela almost 3.
She is trying to make ends meet by selling Atol every afternoon at the Desvio. The Desvio is basically a v where if you drive one way, you head to one side of the country and if you turn the other way you head to San Salvador. Atol is a hot drink made from cornstarch, milk, cinnamon, coconut and other flavors. It is actually quite delicious. Pimpa carries this drink on her head from 2 in the afternoon until 5 selling cups of it for $0.25 a cup.
After hearing about her pupusas, we managed to invite ourselves (remember 12 people in all) to her house so that she could make us some for supper. Well, the rumor was right!! They were amazing. We starting asking Pimpa lots of questions about why she doesn't sell pupusas since she is so good at making them? She told us that she used to sell them, but that she ran into a large medical expense, and health costs outweighed her ability to purchase ingredients. Since that day she couldn't afford to buy enough corn, beans, and cheese to get going again. That got us thinking. We really feel a connection with Pimpa and wanted to help her in some way that would not just be "charity". We started spending a fair bit of time with Pimpa.
We had her and her girls over to our house for a meal, and as I wrote in a previous blog, we went with her and two other ladies to the river to help them wash their clothes and hang out for the day. We prayed for her and asked God what he would like to see in her life. The answer we received included having her write up a business plan for what it would cost to restart her pupusa business. In order to get going again, she needed a grand total of $70 for materials. We decide to lend her the money with an agreement to pay us back $10 every 15 days.
Yesterday, we were invited back to Pimpa's house for lunch. After eating she brought out her business plan, handed us $10 and asked us to sign off on recieving the money. We were so delighted to see God's plan coming to fruition and we know that the light that Pimpa shines on her community is a bright one and that He will use her for great things to come. After the money is paid off, we also want to sit with Pimpa and encourage her to save a portion of her profits.
Here in El Salvador especially, it seems that a lot of people don't think about tomorrow. They only think about today. In some respects this is a good thing and we can learn a lot from it. Our North American attitude is usually based on worrying too much about tomorrow and not living in the beauties of the day. In another respect it it is devestating to live this way. If an emergency comes up, it can throw a family into a downward spiral of poverty. As Stuart asked the other day, "How do we find the balance of forsight and planning while still living in the moments of today, and not being filled with a stress and worry about tomorrow?" We hope that by showing Pimpa that she can take the money that she would have been paying us and putting it away for the future, that she will be successful no matter what is thrown her way. Very cool to see.
|Basilio and Daniel working on a house|
We have been spending a lot of time also in San Antonio lately. Trent had a run-in with the American Army that you may need to ask him about, but mostly it has been peaceful and we are really getting to know the people in the community. As you read earlier, we have been building houses there as well. We have a 4 men crew of locals that we hire as much as possible to build the houses and whatever else we can think of to keep them employed. These are good men, which, sadly, is a rare find here. Basilio is the forman of the crew and with the help of Trent's leadership they are now skilled labourers and can build a house themselves in one day!! They are all so thankful to have the work, so much so, that they are now looking for ways to give back as well. Basilio was in San Antonio the other day doing some repairs on a house, when he overheard one of the community members talking about their thirteen year old daughter that had a major operation on a hernia a while back. She was having lots of pain and problems. Basilio was so touched by the story that he offered to pay for the ultra sound. The cost of an ultrasound here is about 2 times a daily wage, so that is a pretty generous offer! He phoned up Trent and asked him if we could take her and if he would deduct money off his next payday to pay for it. We were so touched to see people in the community helping each other.
So this is why we are, and will often fall into the second category from above. The little stories shed light onto why making those long term relationships are so important to us. We know that in the long run these stories, that are little moments of success to us, are huge in forwarding the Kingdom of God.
Thank you for continuing to follow our journey and support us even if we just hung out with a dozen people today working on our relationships.