Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pictures of Paradise

Just wanted to share a few more pics from my family's recent trip to El Salvador.  (You can check out part 1 of our trip posted on Tuesday)

We were in the tiny, surfing town of El Zonte putting on a Bible School for the local children.  It was simply beautiful.  Hot, but beautiful.

We would spend the morning with the kids, break for lunch, play some more, and every evening we would take a smoothie break before dinner.  Mandy (the lovely woman and friend who set up everything for our team) had us spread out where we ate so that many local families got a chance to benefit from our large group paying a large bill.

El Teco (Myron's family) was my personal favorite.  We would eat at tables on the sand while the little hermit crabs scampered around our feet.  They also had a few hammocks near the water.  My favorite spot...
(And Geoff's, apparently.)  You pay good money in the states to have a table look like that! 
Jackson fell in love with papusas (masa stuffed with beans and cheese and cooked in a pan), and REAL coke.  Delicious!
This was our buddy the parakeet who would eat our crumbs that we left on the table, or out of our mouths as you can see.
There were some great tide pools that we explored with our older boys.  They made friends with the local dogs whom they loved.  They were all so gentle and would follow us around wherever we went.  The hut structures that you see are local restaurants.  The locals usually live in a "house" that is connected to their dining area (a sandy area with tables and chairs) and serve food out of their little kitchen to the tourists.
On New Year's Eve, we got to take over the kitchen at Alex's (the place where we stayed).  Every year, all the guests sign up to make something and they have a potluck dinner.  We made rice.  My favorite was baked ziti made by a Canadian surfer.  Will preferred the M&M cookies that Emily and Nick made.  Then we hunkered down for the night with the boys.  They fell asleep, and Geoff and I sat outside our room and watched the fireworks on the beach.  All fireworks are legal, so it was fun to see such a great show.  A great way to start 2012!
This is our giant iguana buddy who would hang out on our bathroom bamboo ceiling.  Trying to take a shower while this guy was hanging out over our heads was pretty exciting.
We played a lot of Banagrams.  Nestor even tried to play along.  So cute!!!
Jackson loves to draw.  He was showing his friend Blanca some of his artwork.  Blanca loved my kids, and we love her!  She was so happy and kind.  Jackson bought his shell necklace from some sweet sisters who came to our VBS.  When did he become so old?
One of the highlights of our trip came about by chance.  We knew that a local man collected giant sea turtle eggs and hatched the babies.  On Sunday, they were going to release the baby turtles into the ocean.  We got there a bit late, and there were so many people on the beach since it was New Year's Day.  We only got to see one turtle left, about to be swept out into the ocean.  We were still happy to have seen the little guy.
However, on our last day there, as we were leaving the beach to get packed up for our flight the next morning a young boy stopped me on the beach.  He was holding a blue bucket with about 15 baby turtles inside.  They were going to release more and with barely anyone on the beach that Tuesday evening we had a front row seat.  Each of our boys got to release their own turtle.  How can you not love this...
They were so cute!  This was such a special thing to be able to do.  The man who hatched them used this as an educational tool.  He taught the children about taking care of the beach and about picking up all their basura (trash) so that this beach would remain a nice place where these turtles could return one day to lay their eggs.  It was so fun to watch them waddle out to the water.

What a great adventure, in such a beautiful country!  We will always remember this trip, and we are so thankful that God called us to serve here.  Even if it was only for a short time.  We already look forward to going back again!
Thank you El Zonte!  What a blessing you have been to my family!

Happy Thursday everyone,

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