night before last, in the company of fireflies, I ran around the block hand in
hand with the kindergartners-- All of us children enchanted by the night.
Down the dirt path our feet beat in pace with our hearts. The kids running
from the Only-Comes-At-Night witch and me following their laughter, lit with
the quick blinks of light, darting and fading like falling stars.
as is usual with nights here, the rain came and ushered everyone back inside.
had a lot of trouble sleeping. I went to bed around eight, and as I laid
staring at the tin roof I thought of the title, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I wondered, why was the roof hot? Then I
remembered how much lightning there is here and thought, "Maybe that´s why
the roof was hot! Maybe it was on fire!"
I heard thunder.
is what my mind likes to stray to as I´m trying to fall asleep. Earthquakes,
Sunamni´s, and pretty much everything that could go wrong. With the pounding
of the rain outside I quickly decided to turn my thoughts to other things, so
naturally the next best thing was to try to plan the remaining years of my
life. This proved stressful when I found myself awake until at 11:43--the
last time I glanced at my watch.
it is a ridiculous thing to not get to bed until so late. I am routinely woken
by the roosters between four and five AM, and if they don’t get me the first
time around the cows serve as my snooze alarm. The day starts at dawn for the
people of Cuidad Romero. The women go to the milpa to stock up on their corn that they labor the day away making
into tortillas, atol, masa, pupusas, etc. The men start herding the animals and
head for the harvesting fields. The children start on household chores.
remember telling my host sister Diana that in college I don’t usually sleep
until two or three in the morning. She laughed the sort of laugh you force
around crazy people so they’ll think you’re on their side and not try to hurt
of the adults here I know are employed, yet they work through out the day: The
women who ride the bus to sell pupusas and horchata hoping that, between here
and the mile away stop from which they’ll have to walk back, they can make
enough money to feed their six children. The children that get up two hours
before school begins at seven thirty (if they’re lucky enough to get to go to
school) so they can go to the milpa and stock up on corn for the masa their
mother’s and sisters will sweat away the day turning into bread, tortillas,
pupusas, atol, cookies, etc. The men who can spend full weekend days cutting
down, and then chopping up a Palo de Coco so that they can have wood for the
next two month’s worth of cooking.
talking to many of the parents in Cuidad Romero it’s clear, though they would
never say it because they have a Salvadorian pride and resiliency, that many
feel inadequate. A surprising amount of people cannot find work, either due to
lack of it in a location that is realistic for them to reach, or their
are a lot of people my age on my radio team who hate the United States for what
it has done to their country, but still have it as their life’s goal to cross
our border and achieve The American Dream.
people here don´t really understand what life is like for immigrants over
there. They have family in the U.S, maybe a child, cousin, uncle or brother.
They see pictures of gaudy television sets and clean carpets and think this
life is everyone’s reality. It´s everyone´s entitlement. But,the family’s in the U.S are responsible for
this false hope too. They aren’t sending the letters about the stress of
finding the three jobs they’re working, or the difficulty of not knowing the
July 20th, 2005
only got a little bit of time left here, so this will probably be my last
letter to you.
absolute best times I have had in El Salvador--my favorite days--I wont tell
about here. I don´t know how. If you and I should happen to talk one day, ask
me about them I will tell you face to face, but some things here, like
experiences, don’t have translation. Just the sort of way I cannot write the
relationships I have built with people here, because they are too complex and
beautiful to risk being ineloquent in description.