Sunday, December 04, 2005

Day 28

Went to church today. It was a Roman Catholic church in the location. I’ve only been to one Catholic church before, with Matt in Boise. This seemed pretty much the same. Lots of standing, sitting, kneeling, praying, singing, and listening. There was no choir, but the songs sounded great. The prayers would be read aloud by the congregation in monotonous drawl, but the songs were belted out with passion and practiced accompaniment. These people love to sing, and in this small church my ears had their fill of skilled intonations that reverberated off the walls as well as souls. It was all I could do to keep awake through the readings, but the constant standing and kneeling kept me on my toes. There was a great diversity of patronage in this church, from the well dressed city dwellers to the T-shirt and jeans youth from down the street. Infants, elderly, teens, mothers, every possible category was present. One thing that surprised me was who didn’t show up- more than half the town! I was expecting to see everyone filling into church on Sundays in this very religious town and nation. Rather, most we walking down the streets, selling goods, and otherwise not attending church.

While I was very happy to have gone to church and had that experience, meeting some wonderful people and seeing first hand the passion that patrons had for their beliefs, I don’t think I’ll go back. With as much respect as possible for the Catholic church, I have to say that services are a tough ordeal to endure when not a member of the faith. At least in a protestant church you get to hear a pastor rant on some cultural problem. Here in Catholic church, you get the Bible straight, no frilly stuff.

I spent the afternoon with Hermanas. We went to camp to get some things from storage so that I could connect my laptop to the TV to watch a movie tonight and try to get on the Internet. We were unsuccessful in getting Internet (all phone lines busy, probably storms), but did meet up with Suzy, another volunteer staying in town. We went to her house and played some Chinese checkers, borrowed a deck of cards, then returned home.

After some card games with my host parents and Hermanas, a big thunder storm hit. I got a lot of it on video, and plan on putting it all together this week. I’ll try and post it somehow on my blog. There was tons of thunder and lightning, but it only rained for about twenty minutes. The lightning here is amazing, coming down in solid columnar bolts which reignite two, three, and even four times. I’d like to know why lightning is so common here, and why the lightning bolts last longer than in the states- anyone want to do some research for me?

After watching Armageddon with the family, I played some cards with the kids, finally getting some quality time in with them. We had a great time playing “BS”, but it took a while before we were all comfortable with each other.

And now the end of the day comes. It’s nice and cool, dark; the stars must be hiding behind clouds. There is a gentle wind that carries sounds of back yard barbeques, TV’s, cars, and every once in a while, church bells. Crickets are the dominant noise makers, followed by incessant barking of distant dogs. Dogs here are strictly for guarding purposes, which means they bark every time someone walks by. If you had a mind to, you could track the progress of various night walkers by listening for distant barking.

I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow. Should be fun.

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