Saturday, December 16, 2006

Vacation Bible School at San Andrés

Summer vacation from school in El Salvador falls between November and January, so Vacation Bible School at church comes in December. While it adds one more thing to an already busy month, having VBS in December has one big advantage: you get to do all the Advent and Christmas stuff. This year we explored the themes of Advent, the Anunciation, Christ´s Birth and the Shepherds, and the Visit of the Three Kings, with the enthusiastic participation of about thirty kids split into groups by age: 3-5, 6-9, and 10+. Our unifiying theme was "The symbols of Christmas;" most of the crafts the kids made each day were ornaments. On Friday we watched a cartoon movie of the birth of Jesus, ate popcorn, and decorated the tree (the kids got to choose which ornaments they took home and which they put on the tree; some took all, some left all!) Vacation Bible School was really fun.

The best part is, that our Christmas tree is a coffee bush! It happened like this: Leaving church the afternoon before the start of VBS, I was talking with Niña Romana, one of our pillars at San Andrés, about how we would need a tree to decorate. Not everyone has a tree here, but small fake trees are gettting popular (real pine trees are hard to get). The fake trees rub me the wrong way--not just because they´re fake, but because they are so completely out of context (like the singing of White Christmas at a Christmas concert I attended this week!) So I casually mentioned to Niña Romana, ¨Aren´t coffee bushes the traditional Christmas trees in the campo (countryside)?" "Of course!" she replied immediately, "We should get a coffee bush. I'll be in charge of the tree." The next day she shows up a little late for VBS, trailed by three grandchildren lugging an eight-foot tall coffee bush, with some coffee berries still on it! It was acquired, apparently, by one of her sons, who went up to the "monte" (the mountain behind the community, which still has some coffee farming) and paid $2 for it. Our coffee Christmas tree looks wonderful.

Most of the members of the San Andrés Apóstol vacation bible school before the Christmas coffee bush on Christmas Eve

1 comment:

harvey said...

Hola, Amy and Vince. Found your site. We feel connected still to ES in some ways, this made it feel stronger. It was wonderful to see the blessing of Divina Providencia - we visited there and with Mario and his mother. Jose Lopez passed through LA recently, and we met him at a reception given by George Woodward. He's impressive. A Schafik poster, rememberance of that awesome night at the university, graces our breakfast nook wall. We pray for you all down there everyday, and give a bit each month to the bishop's discretionary fund through Cristosal. Que Dios les bendiga. Doris and Harvey