Everyone loves a prankster, right? Well, everyone loves being a prankster. Last Tuesday night I was unable to go to sleep, so I sat up working on what I hope will eventually take the form of a novel. I finally turned my computer off around 1:30 a.m. I had just settled into a deep sleep when an alarm went off. Immediately I began slapping at my clock, whose illuminated numbers read 3:45, trying to shut the obnoxious noise off, but I soon realized it wasn't my clock. Instead, it was the clock Todd left with me when he headed back to the States Tuesday afternoon. And here I thought he was being generous, but I should have known that his parting gift was literally a ticking bomb.
On Thursday, Maria Helmi, director of the SCOTA school for handicapped children, invited me, Tom and Terri Sheaffer, and Stewart Garrett to have lunch with her and the teachers from two of the SCOTA schools in town. We were treated to some local cuisine - soup made from chicken broth and cornmeal with a chicken leg floating in the middle alongside a piece of yucca, fried rice, and another interesting looking dish. The soup and fried rice were delicious; I must confess I declined to try the other dish and was later glad I had opted out once I found out that it was actually pieces of gizzard with some spices in it. They weren't in the least offended that I wouldn't eat this delicacy because my upturned nose meant more for them. What impressed me more than the food was the camaraderie among the teachers. They thoroughly enjoyed each other's company and chatted incessantly throughout the meal, laughing often. It was an occasion to celebrate the teachers having birthdays in June. Tom, Terri, and Stewart were honored for the work they have done for SCOTA, including repairing the children's playground, updating the computer lab, and teaching English classes. The SCOTA teachers and students alike have a great love for these three, and well they should. At one point during lunch I turned to Terri and said, "Now this is real life. We are being blessed to witness life as they know it every day." What an awesome opportunity to see people coming together for the common good; I can't help but wish we gringos interacted with our co-workers in the same way.
El Jardin - Front Gate
My Aunt Terri emailed me earlier in the week asking for pictures of where I live while I am here. She said she had a mental image of this 'El Jardin' place she's heard about so much and would like to see if imagination and reality match. So, I've included a few photos for those who've never been here before. Notice in the first snapshot above that I brought a signature South Carolina flag with me - there's nothing like the palmetto tree and crescent moon flapping in the breeze more than 3000 miles away from home.