October 20, 2014
This week was my first week and it’s been insane, everything in El Salvador is either crazy in the sense of crazy people or crazy poor. Nothing is normal people just carry guns and machetes’ around constantly it blows my mind!! Ha-ha. It’s so scary to be walking down a dirt road (there are no streets in my area) at night when it’s just you your comp. and a guy walking towards you with his huge machete you start to get a little nervous!!
Well here is a story for you guys, I got here and walked out of the airport and it was like walking into a sauna! I sweat like a freaking animal here!! It’s nonstop and it is constantly hot! I hear it will only get worse; we are leaving the rainy season!! Anyway I got to my house and it’s a disaster, but I wasn’t surprised... My companion is a Latino guy from Colombia that speaks 7 languages, and let’s just say that out of the 7 languages English is not one of his better ones!!
We go to teach our first lesson and I was in shock. It was a house with a dirt floor and nothing but a tin roof and some bamboo sticks holding up the house. I was just sitting there with my jaw wide open and the people speak so fast here I was no help with the lesson. So I started praying for a way to help during the lesson so I wouldn’t be totally useless!! My prayer was pretty much answered. A little girl came out with an English text book from school and said she needed help with her homework. I was so grateful that I could actually do something!! So I helped her with her English home work and it was amazing!!
I don’t believe there are many rules here in El Salvador. I was sitting on the bus and it’s the steep price of 25 cents to ride. There was a guy that didn’t have a quarter so the man that comes around to collects the money gave him a swift punch to the face, the guy then got to stay on the bus!! So I might save some money if I do that every time!!
Well going to every teaching appointment is like going on a hike!! It’s crazy walking up and down hills, walking on the rocks and sweating out of your mind! All in slacks a white shirt and some wingtip shoes! I’d like to issue you a challenge. I challenge you to run a couple of miles in the mountains and then go sit in the middle of a herd of cows and you have to sit on a rock for an hour, and you can moo every 5 minutes!! No more than that!! That’s how I feel every lesson. I go on a hike I’m dripping in sweat and when I get to the house sometimes they have chairs other times they don’t. Then I accumulate a puddle of sweat dripping off my nose in the dirt underneath me!! This situation happens every couple of hours; it’s pretty crazy. I am so confused with everything that goes on around me!! I’m still trying to take it all in. Maybe I’ll get it eventually!! For now every day is crazy new and different!! I’m sending pictures of my journal entries I don’t have time to write the family.
This place amazes me every 15 minutes and it humbles me so much. I’m humbled every second. It feels like you’re getting punched in the gut every time I see how the people live here. We are so blessed to live in the United States, This place is so sad! Some people are so kind for no reason, they always try to give us food or drinks and it is so hard for me to except. Because I know I could buy their house with 20 hours of work at the Murray Parkway golf course!! It’s insane that’s the only way that I can put it nicely!! I started to bring candy with me every time I go out to teach a family. When I teach a family with little kids I make sure to give them some American candy, it makes them so happy. Candy is something that they don’t ever get. It makes me happy, even though I can’t speak Spanish or help them in any real way but give them a little piece of candy. Ha-ha I guess I’ll just keep trying. I love all of you a ton and I don’t have any time to really say anything else besides pray for me it isn’t easy for me here!! One positive thing is that everyone wants to name their children after me because I’m white and have blue eyes ha-ha! That’s cool I guess. What name would it be if it’s a girl? There might be a couple little Andrews and Abby El Salvadorian kids running around in the streets here! Ha-ha Well I love all of you guys and hope to hear from you again. I hope all continues to stay good in your lives I love all of ya!! Love Elder Rietveld