I had the opportunity today after sitting and traveling for 2 days, to again, sit. However I chose to sit by myself, on the hillside at the top of a mountain to watch the most amazing sunset. Simply put, El Salvador is pretty much the most beautiful place I have ever experienced, and watching the process of the sun setting was pretty much my favourite thing I have done in a very long time.
But to take the obvious out of the scenario, it actually wasn’t the sunset that I marvelled at. You see, as a first time Novacom team attendee and the lone girl on this trip, I gave up the camaraderie and running with the boys who were chasing the sunset up to a higher view point. What I saw in the vast open field at the plateau of this mountain, was the experience I had wanted and longed for. It was surreal, yet so simple; dozens of people of every age, and of different family units, playing soccer and running, climbing trees, herding the roaming cattle, sitting in circles and talking. This open plateau is much like a park we have at home, but without all the fancy play equipment and manicured lawns. It was a simple, open area and the scene was innocent and real. But what ultimately stopped me from hanging with the boys was the powerful sound of laughter that was all around me. All I wanted to do was to sit and watch the people and to hear their laughter.
It’s different here in El Salvador. Like any of us in a new situation, we are conscious of trying to make a good first impression on the people we meet. But in my naivety, it is I that has been blessed with the beautiful first impression of the El Salvadorian people. They are genuine, happy, and with smiles that seem to come from their souls and not the muscles of their mouths. It’s most prevalent in our host Pablito, his wife Rosita, and their adult sons Wilbur and Charlie. We have been here in Victoria for only a few short hours, and already Brandon has said it feels like coming home, and the rest of us El Salvadorian newbies can already understand why he could say such a thing.
After sitting on my hillside for 20 minutes alone, Rosita came and sat with me. And without either of us speaking a language that the other understood, we had a whole conversation through smiling, pointing, hand gestures and most of all, laughter. No fancy apps or translations needed; just the human spirit of two women who chose to be in the moment with each other and enjoy what was before us. It was that simple.
Here are a few more photos from today…