Café Latte

Café Latte
Café Latte

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hanging With The Church Ladies

Once a week I volunteer at the local soup kitchen. No, no, no, don't pat me on the back. I do this not only to help others, but to help myself in learning Spanish and how to cook the regional foods that El Senor and I have come to love. The soup kitchen is located in the neighboring town of Chicxulub and is sponsored by the town's Catholic Church. We are a total of 5 volunteers; 4 ladies of the church and me, their wayward, non Spanish speaking "American daughter".
Hanging With The Church Ladies
The soup kitchen operates predominantly through the donation of food . All types of foods are accepted, even opened items. As the women like to say, "food is food". Preparing a meal to feed 60 is a challenge in itself. Their ability to stretch ingredients would marvel "The Food Network"! The secret is in the chopping. The smaller you can chop the food, the more there is to stretch. No one leaves hungry under their watch. They even feed the soul  through their compassion toward others.
Ara, a.k.a. Mother Superior
 Ara, is in charge of the soup kitchen and the sole key holder of the refrigerator and food pantry. Nothing slips by Ara. She knows exactly what is on hand at all times. She is a shy, no nonsense woman. Ara is also a good listener. Whether it is for consoling or advice, everyone seeks out Ara.

Cecilla, a.k.a. The Chef

Cecilla is the miracle worker and my cooking instructor. Cooking is her life; after her grandchildren. She enjoys my interest in the regional foods and is proud to share her recipes. She is also very determined to teach me Spanish. Anything that she uses, she will first hold it out in front of me and very slowly say its name in Spanish, then wait for me to repeat it.

Carmen, a.k.a. Flo
Carmen has a big heart and just goes with the flow. Wherever she is needed, that is where she will be. Carmen enjoys gardening and makes sure the dinning room always has fresh flowers. She is the surrogate grandmother to all the children of the soup kitchen.
Mama Chu, a.k.a. The Cleaner
Mama Chu is known as Mama Chu to everyone. She is a beautiful Mayan woman, who is always happy and never without a smile. She makes us all laugh. She is that special someone, that everyone wants to be around and she knows everyone and their history. Mama Chu makes sure that the soup kitchen always looks its best. "Everyone deserves a nice place to sit and eat, even if it is only for a short time".

I must admit, more times than not, I am left with the feeling of having received  much more than what I have given............

La Senora