Posted by: Jessica | November 13, 2010

A la Cancha (soccer field)

Tonight in my training community of San Isidro, San Vicente, our group of 4 volunteers went out to the cancha with a huge group of kids to launch a paper hot air balloon (made in one of our training classes) that we thought was surely going to just burst into flames.  We rehearsed with the kids what to do if this happened: “RUN!!!!” (with their arms flailing above them)  to avoid getting burned.  This experiment would clearly not be allowed with schoolkids in the states, which is partially why it’s so cool…  After a slight downpour which threatened to postpone the launch Cape Canaveral style, the rain subsided and we lit the piece of wax-soaked T-shirt at the base of the balloon, and waited for it to inflate as we carefully held up the top 4 corners.  I quickly patched a little hole in the side with masking tape, and within a minute, the balloon was on the verge of floating.  It. Was. Awesome.  The kids were so excited when it started to float out of our hands: almost as excited as I was that this might not actually end in a ball of flaming ttissue paper.  The balloon started to drift upwards amidst squeals of delight from the kids (and from me).  Any second now, I thought it would burst into flames, but it didn’t!  This little balloon made of tissue paper and wire flew up above the cancha, then caught a nice breeze, sending it more than 200 feet into the air.  The kids ran to the edge of the cancha to keep it within eyesight.  After several minutes, it DID catch on fire, and it fell to the ground a good mile or two away from the soccer field.  I hope it landed in the road and not on someone’s roof!  The kids literally chanted, “Se fue, se fue se fue se fue!”  and we volunteers felt like rock stars.  These kids (and the moms who came with them to supervise) had never seen anything like this before, and I think even if the balloon HAD ended up catching on fire immediately, it still would have been spectacular to them. 

Later, my host parents came into my room to tell me they wanted to thank me for everything I’ve shared with them and for spending this time with them again for my second training session… I told them I was the one who was thankful, they make me feel hopeful about being successful in my site, even though I live clear across the country. 

It’s going to be hard to leave tomorrow again, but at least now I have two Salvadoran families I feel at home with, here in San Isidro and El Pital.  Plus, I get to come back in two weeks to take my German Shepherd puppy home with me… a bus… actually, it will be 5 buses total to get Inigo (Indi) from San Isidro to El Pital.  But that will be a story for another day.  🙂 

Next up, last 4 days of PSTII trainign in San Salvador, and next week I’m being temporarily adopted by an Embassy family for a real life Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ll also be taking four students from my village to the ENA agriculture University (assuming they’ve all passed the exam) to start college.  Vamos a ver!



  1. Jessica,

    Your description of the balloon event sounds fanticiful.

    Please post pictures of Inigo on your facebook page. Can’t wait to see how he and the kitten get along.


  2. Had a nice visit with your Dad and Mark, Jr when I went to Maryland last weekend. Mark mentioned that he spoke to you. I am proud of your accomplishments and enjoy reading your posts. I am glad you are getting to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. We miss our families around the holidays. Keep up the good work. Stay strong and well. I look forward to your next posting. Also, I have some things on the wish list to send you. Hope you are keeping a journal, it will be interesting to me to visit with you when you get back home. Love you, Aunt Charlene

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