Yesterday I received a phone call from a neighbor down the hill inviting me, in Spanish, to attend a community Mothers’ Day lunch. I decided to be brave and drive myself down to the community center hoping no one would need to pass me going the other way. A few women were there preparing food. I was greeted with a kiss on the cheek by everyone, even those who were soon to arrive. One woman, Luz, greeted me by name and gave me a big hug. I don’t remember meeting her before, but perhaps I had two months ago. Luz then practiced singing with Don Predro who was there to accompany her on guitar.
Luz has a great smile and welcoming heart so I decided she was aptly named. Her smile is like a light (Luz).
While people were cooking ingredients for the first course Luz and Virgita were chatting about someone who makes tables, lamps, etc. a few villages away, I think. Luz was also making a list of who was there and who she thought was coming. The reason for this became evident later.
Then it was time to begin. Luz read a brief passage from the Bible about mothers and followed it with how important mothers are and what is really important in life – to be there for your kids through good times and bad. The good will give you strength to deal with the bad. A prayer was then said with each person simultaneously saying their own. I almost cried when I heard Virgita, who was standing next to me, include me in her thanks – she was thankful for her new companion and neighbor while gesturing to me. When everyone was done Katya read a story about a woman and a child with issues. Sadly, I could not follow the story line, but Luz spoke about how important the message was.
While Grace and someone else were serving plates of food Pedro asked me if I understood what people had said. Right after saying I knew a few words here and there, which brought a chuckle, Luz asked me if I had any life experiences to share! Yikes! I didn’t even know what stories they had shared and I was to share one in kind????? All I could come up with was that all the people in the village are very kind and patient with my language. They smile and nodded.
Here is what became the first course – hot corn tortilla with hot dog, shredded lettuce, and thousand island dressing. It was actually rather good! Interestingly it was messy to eat yet no napkins were available. Trying to be secretive and yet not get grease on my fanny pack I snuck a tissue to wipe my fingers.
Luz then talked about women in India and Africa who have to carry large containers of water long distances on their heads or in their arms, that the water gets hot and is contaminated, and how people here are fortunate to have good water to drink in their houses. As hardworking as people here have to be to survive, they have safe water.
The second course was pico de banano, which was easier to eat. The tortillas were brought in a banana leaf. Coffee was the only drink offered and was already sweetened! Yet, Virgita and Pedro added more!
There were three kinds of cornbread. My favorite was the one with cheese mixed in. When I mentioned this Pedro asked if cheese is the word for queso. Then he wanted to know if the word for beso is kiss, only he pronounced it kees. He said to me, “I want to kiss you.” I laughed and exclaimed, “Señor!” Luz laughed as well and said he was interested in me…..I just said, “Queso, beso…” which rhyme.
Luz continued to try to include me. She explained that the field workers take breakfast or lunch wrapped in banana leaves which are used as a plate. Basically they make tortilla sandwiches of beans, rice, potatoes, or eggs which they eat with their fingers or use another tortilla as a scoop.
There were gifts, too. The reason Luz had made a list of people was to number them. The numbers were written on bits of paper and placed in a plastic bag. A person drew out a number and the person who had that number on her list got a gift. Then that person drew the next number and so on. Most of us got a small bowl with a lid along with two small sweets. Others got a back scrubber. Even Don Pedro was included, and he took the scrubber, although he was not feeling it necessary to be included as it was a women’s event.
Then it was time for the entertainment.
When it was time to clean up Pedro asked me if I lived in a certain house and do I live alone……thankfully I could truthfully state I live with my husband. He said that was good!!!!
I was able to give Marlene a ride back up the hill which was great because she was the one who had invited me.
This was a very heartwarming experience. Whatever issues they may have in their lives they left them at home. Not a sense of an angry person there, just people who are grateful for the good things in their lives.