BLOG: El Salvador, January 30, 2015
Making the Impossible Happen: It takes Angels.
There will be entries that in time come before this one, but today I am writing to you from a wonderful alley home in Puente Arce in El Salvador right at the border with Guatemala.
As I arrived at this border two afternoons ago, I was met first with the refusal of a young woman from Immigration El Salvador to my request for passage that had something to do with the failure of immigration in Mexico to give me a entry stamp on my passport. But quite soon after this first interview, a young man showed up with an open face, a fine smile and delicious brown eyes offering to assist me. His name is Jorge, George, like my grandfather was George. His cohort was Alexander as my father was Harold Alexander. Go Figure!
At moments like this it is important to make a quick assessment of the integrity of whoever you are looking at. The first young man who offered services did not make the cut. This man, George, as it turned out, was a Prince, both knowledgeable and with a fine open heart. It did not take us long to understand each other.
At the beginning of the Sandanista occupation, he had been sent by his family out of the country so that he could not be conscripted into the army, and he had been doing work, believe it or not, in Riverside, at the agricultural school there doing the gardening while the students learning theory watched. He knew plants, gardening, English and my neighborhood. It turned out to be a blessing to us both.
So, with quite a lot of heart-full talk on his part with the same immigration people, we were free to proceed to customs. Here, we were met with the insistence of one of the customs agents that we take everything out of the van, make a list, and wait for his inspection.
Jorge and his cohort, Alexander, very masterfully unpacked the van while I swept up the whole rear area of the thousands of shards of glass that had fallen from the broken rear window. Finally, after about 4 hours, we emerged from the check point into Puente Arce with documents in order and permission to proceed on our way.
Whew! This one was a definite squeaker!
First things first: to the porch of the local cantina and a cold beer while we sorted out all of our accomplishments and made a bare bones strategy about what would be next. Our destiny, it seemed had been determined and we would complete quite a long part of this journey sharing with each other: their savvy and skill of the border games that are played in these territories and from me, the simple and profound wisdom of Grandmother.
Each of us in our own way was ready for the very different gifts we were giving to each other. It always works.
They found me a place to park and I gratefully went to sleep rather later in the morning and only for a while sometime between the rumblings and noise of engine brakes of many big trucks that crossed the frontier most of the night.
Next day, they came in the morning to greet me. The first thing to do was to figure out about how to change travelers cheques so there would be cash to pay the toll that was paid the day before by Alexander (I had nothing left from the crossing from Guatemala), and what would properly compensate these two for their services.
So, imagine that this old lady, stick and all, slung her leg over the back and climbed on George’s go-fast red motorcycle! Off we went, putting away down the highway to the quite near town to see about our quest. There was no bank there that would help us. We made it back about the 5 miles to the border crossing and determined that we should go to a farther but larger city and to a bigger bank.
Three of us climbed into the Red Bear, Jorge and Alexander in the lounge in back and I in the driver’s seat. Off we went at the usual Central American speed of about 35 mph about an hour down the rather torn up highway roads until we found the banks, one of which was willing to cash only a $100. cheque.
As we had been working together now for about a full 24 hours, we had learned quite a lot about ourselves and the possibilities we might have to be of service. As we drove back from the banking expedition with George driving, (I was much too exhausted to do it,) we determined that I was invited to park in the alley of his family’s home in Puente Arce.
In conversation with him, I had determined that it was necessary for me to take about 10 days off from the road. I was invited to join the family scene here for the duration while I recuperated. Then, later accompanied by George, I could make the trip through the several boundaries until we made it to Costa Rica where there was a lot less hassle, and where I would be in much less challenging territory all the way through to Panama. George quoted me his very reasonable fee and informed me of the charges that I would be facing for the trip. We made a good agreement and so, here I am.
It seems that the human family once more found a home together in the dusty alley of a very small town nearly lost in a ravaged state. None of that matters, I can tell you, when I look into the faces of my sisters and brothers and our children. We recognize each other immediately: it’s a heart thing, don’t you know!
As we wound our way through the quaint, dusty red brown dirt streets of this small town that had survived with simple people-to-people commitment. What a relief and what a blessing as at last the respite I had been asking for became a reality.
I can report to you, my friends, those of you who keep coming to visit the experiences I am writing to you about, that you cannot make this stuff up. It comes along because there truly are unseen helpers (we have called them ‘angels’) that show us the way to go. George was pacing his beat that afternoon as I was coming through the border crossing. I had met the bureaucratic hurdle that without his help might have been impossible.
First of all, I already know there are two ways to interpret the rules to the game and I play to win. It became obvious within a very few minutes, that our destiny’s were matched. It comes through a meeting of the hearts and minds. It is very quiet and…
v e r y subtle.
The operative word here is: Trust!