In Which I Throw Caution to the Wind and Eat a Fried Green Tomato

First up: I want to direct you to the blogs of my compadres this week. Go to Unbound if you’d like to see what the others are writing. Such an incredible week. I hope you enjoy it.

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As part of Allie’s Wednesday experience, she spent some time in the kitchen of one of the women in the Mother’s Group. I walked over when they were halfway through and saw the green vegetable frying up in a small pan on the small gas stovetop. It looked…good.

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Today my tummy is feeling a little rumbly so I’m wondering if that was maybe not the best idea? I don’t know. We shall see. There were seven of us sitting around the table in her open-air dining room, eating rice with red sauce and this “tomato” (though it wasn’t a tomato, but no one has been able to tell me exactly what it was?) and also we were offered some kind of cinnamon broth drink which our fearless leader Henry politely declined for us. The hosts understand — we are gringos, we can’t handle the water.

There’s also a chance I got sick from the mile-high ricotta cheese treat I was offered by Olga’s neighbor. I didn’t want to be rude, but she was so excited to feed me that she gave me three times the cheese she gave the guys. While my translator and photographer got a reasonable spread of cheese on their tortilla, mine was a tribute to Chitchen itza.

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And you know how it goes. You don’t offend. You are honored that they are sharing this food they have here in their humble home, that this woman so proudly served. I didn’t dare eat half and hide the rest. It was all going down, down, down the hatch and we’ll deal with the consequences later.

And so it was that we headed out this morning with my tummy not quite on board. I was feeling…delicate. Like more native cooking might not be in my future. Like I could ride out the next few days on that stash of Fiber One’s burrowed in my suitcase. And I was just about to devote an entire paragraph to The Baños of Ataco, but I just realized I’m cool with not sharing that information. I bet you feel the same.

Today’s adventure was an incredible day in Coffee Land (as one man referred to it) and I can’t wait to share with you the story of Irma and her six children — FIVE BOYS and ONE GIRL. After she told me that, I declared “ME TOO!” and she leaned over and rubbed my arm and we looked at each other and smiled. Like, we get each other. Girl, I feel your pain (and joy).

It was an incredible few hours spent on the front porch of her mountaintop home. That she decorated for me, for our visit. Not for me Rachel, but me the Representative of Unbound, a group that has changed her life. I can’t wait to tell you how (I’m not trying to be one of those vague blogger people. I just don’t have the pictures and dinner is in 36 minutes, so I really do have to wait to tell you).

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This might be one of the most humbling moments of my life.

Speaking of crying (which I did, a little, when I saw this), we had lunch in an authentic El Salvadoran restaurant, complete with El Co-cola and delicious chicken, rice and vegetables. I gave it a whirl and I’m doing good. Maybe shots of Pepto Bismal aren’t in my future. Knock on madera.

After we ate, we visited the very old Catholic church just off the square and my friend Kristin was sweet enough to snap a picture. It was a beautiful moment and I had just enough time to say a prayer of Thanksgiving for this life God has given me (tomorrow is my birthday!). And then in the silence I felt an overwhelming outpouring of God’s love and joy in my heart. It washed over me and consumed me, a moment I won’t ever forget.

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Thanks for sharing this adventure with me, dear reader. I told my fellow travels today “the hardest part when this is over is going to be making sure I don’t sound like a salesman for Unbound.” It’s just so beautiful to see how our simple efforts at home can make such a radical impact on lives so far away.

Comments

  1. I’m so fascinated by what you are sharing and I want to hear how Unbound is having an impact. I think people want to do something that really does have an impact for good in the lives of people like those you are visiting– rather than just throwing contributions at some anonymous charity organization. I know I will never forget my summer in the jungle of Guyana.

  2. What an amazing birthday experience and testimony for all of your readers! Happy, happy birthday! May your stomach show mercy, especially today.

  3. LOVED this post! What a wonderful description of what you are experiencing. It sounds like you all are having a wonderful time!

  4. I know there’s a reason God sent you to that home of the mile-high ricotta cheese and not me! It was a day of wonder and challenge; so glad to have shared it with you and to be part of sharing Unbound’s life-changing work.

  5. Very beautiful church.. reminds me of home (Philippines).
    My husband and I started sponsoring CM on our first year wedding anniversary. and now, she is graduating highschool. we love unbound.