Barrio Edgar Munguia 2001:
Laughter & hope in 'Barrio Loco'
(ONE OF A
The afternoon is hot and stuffy. The shade under the tree is a break from the merciless sun. The temperature reaches the 100s, and Sister Yerenia gracefully offers us cold glasses filled with something like sweet lemonade that she calls 'fresco de pitaya.' It is very refreshing!
As we begin to sip this homemade drink, one of the brothers asks her, "What do you call this part of the city?"
"Folks call it 'Barrio Loco' (the crazy neighborhood)," she replies. We laugh, our happy sounds mixing with the sounds of barking dogs, singing birds, cackling hens, playing children, far away radio stations and traffic.
The street outside the front door, Barrio Edgar Munguia
It is indeed a crazy place, with streets that are not always totally straight, nor are they paved or of the same width. Here we walk on the uneven dirt, plastered with a variety of often-unrecognizable material in different stages of decomposition.
A visit to a health clinic
And it is here in the 'Barrio Loco" that brothers and sisters, eat, pray, share, cry, and visit with simple neighbors who eke out a living in a place where 80 percent of the people are unemployed.
Amazingly, in the midst of the madness, there is a feeling of joy that we share as two communities being together.
There is a deep sense of purpose in our being right here, in a place so different and so far from our quiet Vermont forest.
There is the realization that in coming to a crazy place, to another kind of wilderness, we come to meet the same God who beckons us in the beautiful nature that surrounds our home in Weston.
A God who, in this 'Barrio Loco,' subverts suffering and deprivation with the gift of laughter and hope -- and who gently welcomes us home in the simplicity of a smile and a homemade drink!
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