I’ve continued to help when I can this week at the Posada. After serving the food to a table is six, I’m expected to take the drink order. How challenging can it be to get a drink order right when the options are water or coffee? I mean even if Spanish is not my first language and I’ve never waited tables, is it all that hard?
Well, they can request a large coffee or water. Or they can request a small coffee or water. And they have a special word for the small that I’ve learned to say but can’t imagine how to spell. Some think the coffee is a bit too hot and want coffee with water.
Then there was the lady this morning who decided to have fun with her “Spanish as a second language” (SSL?) waiter and asked for “cafe con leche”. It took me a few seconds to realize she was asking for coffee with milk; something definitely not on the menu. We then both had a good laugh.
I’ve managed to get all of my drink orders correct, so far. But I tend to confuse the heck out of the kitchen staff (pictured above) while placing my order. Sorry!
My brother-in-law is the pastor of a church in New Hampshire. He and his wife asked me to comment on religious / spiritual life here in El Salvador. As you may have guessed, the country is mostly Roman Catholic. According to the CIA World Factbook, the country is 57.1% Roman Catholic, 21.2% Protestant, 1.9% Jehovah’s Witness, 0.7% Mormon, 2.3% other and 16.8% none.
You can see in the photos the big church in Santa Tecla, Iglesia El Carmen. The local Roman Catholic Church also has a very nice complex with schools and a clinic as well as a kitchen feeding the homeless. They even took the artistic step of putting the Christian symbol of a fish in the sidewalk. I think I walked past it a dozen times before realizing what it was.
I’ve also included here some images of smaller churches both Roman Catholic and a “storefront” church, one of the many here in the city. In one image you can see a statue of a saint being carried through the streets and into a church similar to the Italian Feasts in Boston.
I think the big difference between here and home is the presence of spirituality and religion in everyday life. People have reminders of their faith in their homes and on their person or vehicle. The bus pictured here is not unusual. Yesterday, I saw a truck bearing Juan 3:16 across the top of the front. You see it everywhere. There is prayer in the public school in which I help teach. The day begins with an assembly of all students. It includes the Spanish version of the Lord’s Prayer, and I think a prayer for intercessions for various people and groups.
People are accepting of other’s people beliefs. For many, religion is a very large part of their lives. They express their faith without reservation. It is accepted here.