As well as the elaborate welcomes I received and the many smiles and hugs, I was also blessed to be given gifts of a physical “take home” nature.
Here is the photographic evidence.
Starting with this key ring and letter holder I received – which may, or may not have been made by Veronica. (Sometimes I didn’t have chance to open the gifts until I got to the hotel).
On the letter holder is written Psalm 91. The key ring says something like ‘I went to El Salvador and someone gave me this t-shirt but it’s too small.’ (I’m absolutely sure I lost the joke in translation).
Ricardo gave me a little wooden writing station that had a small pad, a holder for three pens and space that i think is for small envelopes but is shown holding sweets from Pizza Hut. He also gave me three pens that had been wrapped with thread in such a way that one displayed my name, one displayed Ricardo’s name and the other had both our names. Last but not least I received a photo album with about a dozen pictures of Ricardo.
Walter gave me a scarf which he had knitted – as evidenced by some of the photos he gave me in a photo album. The flowers you see are made from recycled coke bottles; cut open and curled – by heating I suspect – and painted. Quite a colourful use for old bottles!
Esteban gave me a collection of items. The sign at the top has a sticker that says, ‘God bless you wherever you are.’ A writing pad is on the photo album and someone will have to tell me again the name of the musical instruments. Carlos told me but I had trouble locking it into memory; I was probably too fuzzy on the pronunciation.
Robin gave me this piece of art that has each of the 14 departments of El Salvador carved into it. We were in Perkin which is represented by the yellow dot of paint on black colored department.
Jasmin gave me a photo album and photo of her family in a beautiful frame.
Ruth made me a card.
On the inside she wrote a poem which says; (I’m not making this up but I may have misheard the translation), ‘You are an angel and when you have kids, they will be angels too.’
Karla gave me coffee! Which I’m sure is great, but I don’t drink coffee. Maybe I should start. The artwork is a mosaic made of different materials (this wasn’t made by Karla but is still a great piece). I also got bookmarks and a recent photo of Karla.
Bryan gave me a welcome banner!
(The image here is slightly blurred where Bryan’s full name was originally visible.)
Bryan also gave me a key ring, belt clip for keys, phone wrist strap and a couple of little dolls for my Mom and sister. So.. ah.. Hi Mom, Laura, I have something for you! <- I live with these people, I've been back a week already and I haven't even given them their gifts yet! That's just how busy I've been and why the posting has slowed down.
Banesa gave me a photo album.
And this wonderful plaque.
So, I didn’t receive any animals! But I did get to hold a chick if you recall. And I told customs about the chick after I confirmed that chickens were livestock. Customs even cleaned my shoes for me since I had been to rabbit and chicken farms. It’s good to declare! Obviously if I hadn’t I might still have dirty shoes and more to the point, we might have unknown parasites in Australia. (No offence El Salvador).
However, all the wood products, the beautiful gifts, I didn’t want to try my hand with customs on those. That’s why I wrote “take home” in quotes and why I actually have the photographic evidence. You see the lacquered side in the photos but the rest of the wood is untreated. So Carlos and Alex now have a lot of nice stuff on their walls at home. I also offered them all the ‘Welcome Douglas Bailey’ banners…
It’s a very unfortunate reality that it’s not practical to bring everything home. As you can imagine this bad news it not something you share with the kids. About the only gift you turn down on the spot is animals and what you do there is explain to the kids that you do not have the necessary environment or equipment to take care of the rabbit/chicken/goat etc… and could they please take care of it for you and write to you to tell you how it’s going and what it tasted like. Ha! Well maybe you don’t ask them what it tastes like but that’s the reality of obtaining protein. Sorry!