19 February 2009 Travel

Day 6

Part 7 of El Salvador Trip Journal

6:36 AM

Beach today. I ache. All over.

4:03 PM

OK. No beach today. Also, no more building. Erica came to the build site today to tell us that Sheila had broken her tailbone in two places, and possibly one of her vertebrae. She’s being airlifted to Canada at the earliest opportunity, and we’re to follow. Lindsay was with her all day. So when me, Melissa, Christina and our fill-in translator Dennis heard the news we were pretty down. We said a jovial farewell to the masons, Gonzalez, and the family, and then left a few presents – a puzzle, a bag of marbles. Now we’re on the bus.

Melissa and I have been thinking; technically our contract with Habitat should be over on Friday; we’re of age, why not just stay on our own? We already have a flight booked for Sunday and a hotel reserved in San Salvador. We’d just need to find a way to get from here to the capital, and then to the airport. We could manage; Julian and Christina are on board too; but everything’s up in the air – the flights and hotels might already be cancelled.

7:51 PM

Everything’s still up in the air, but now we have a little more certainty as to where it’ll all land. We had an impromptu closing ceremony because we were pretty sure that we weren’t going to build tomorrow. The families and masons were here and everything. They were very grateful for our help and monetary contributions, and I think we gained an unforgettable experience in working with all these wonderful Salvadorans. We ate a huge dinner and took lots of pictures.

Then Sheila tells us we’re staying. It’s pretty certain that we’ll be here till Sunday, with Dennis as our impromptu trip leader. As far as I know, Sheila is being flown first class to Toronto tomorrow, and we’ll be ere in Usulutan for the rest of the trip with Dennis. That means no shopping in San Salvador, but it does mean we can check out the Usulutan market and go to the beach!

9:26 PM

These past two days have certainly been filled with drama. But at least, now we know what’s really going on. Sheila is going to Toronto tomorrow, and then to the hospital in Ottawa. Dennis is now our team leader. He’ll be on our build site tomorrow as the token bilingual person (and the token american gringo). It turns out we’re building for a whole day, not a half day tomorrow. I wonder how much Dennis I’ll be able to handle. Saturday we’re all going to the beach, and then we leave for the airport on Sunday morning. We’ll be staying here in Usulutan at the Campo Real for the whole time. I guess we can hang out in the town on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

In light of all the itinerary changes, Sheila’s been doing a great job at keeping everything organized and keeping the team together. I hope she understands how much we appreciate her and how sad we are to see her go.

Sam Nabi

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