Hola from Costa Rica! We’ve been here just over a week now, time for an update via the blog!
Last Friday, we got to see the Beach team before they left Pura Vida for their weekend at Manuel Antonio. I figured we would get to have lunch with them and spend a little while there visiting but their schedule got condensed and they had to leave the mission sooner than expected. Lynn took us over there and we were able to give everyone hugs and talk for a couple minutes. It was definitely worth it! I will miss my Beach family dearly.
Also last Friday afternoon, Andrew and I walked down to see the new homes built recently for 13 families of Bajo. We walked up and saw some of the ladies with their machetes chopping away the weeds. We were fortunate enough to have some interesting conversation with Big Mama! For anyone who has met Big Mama, you know what I mean. She’s an absolute trip. Andrew volunteered to help chop some weeds and Big Mama was having a ball with him. He wasn’t getting out of there until that job was done. She invited us to a little fiesta in the Bajo on Sunday, and though we didn’t understand all the details in full, we agreed to go.
We returned to the mission that day and all was well until Jessica came running into the apartment crying with her arm skinned up to tell us about a break in. Seemed odd as it was broad daylight. Apparently, someone had jumped the fence of the Pastor’s backyard and entered their house through the back door. No one was inside. He was able to grab one of the mission computers, an ipad, jewelry and other things and started shoving them into a backpack which had a visiting friend’s passport in it. The pastor’s wife came into the front door as he was trying to escape through the back. She immediately started screaming “thief! thief!” in Spanish. As the thief was jumping back over the fence, everything fell backwards out of the backpack. All he got away with was the backpack. Isn’t that something! Nonetheless, everyone handled the situation really well. And the kids that were on campus at the time were quite upset that someone would break into this place and steal things from their Pastor.
Unfortunately, there have been some issues with the truck starting recently. This is a hoot. Apparently if you put the truck into gear and have people push it, you can get it going. Last week, we pushed that thing all the way down the hill to no avail. Which means we had to then try and push it back up the hill to have some more room to get it going. It started with Pastor Maiko, the guard, Andrew, and a father and son that had just made it to the mission the day before. Then I started pushing too. Then we added in another guy, two more girls, and the mother and daughter of said family. At this point, we had gotten the truck maybe 10 feet up the hill. It was enough to attempt this again… so we pushed it back down the hill the 10 feet we had just worked so hard to get it up to and it started! We have since gotten the truck fixed. But that was definitely an experience.
On Sunday, we went to the fiesta in Villa Larry, which is what the area of new homes is called in honor of Larry. It was actually really neat. They had their “community center” opened up and full of authentic Nicaraguan and Costa Rican food… and it was cheap! The residents down there were trying to raise money for improvements to their community. So we got great food and the proceeds went to a great cause, can’t ask for more than that! I tried multiple things and they were all wonderful. I will say that I wanted to try arroz con leche, which is more or less rice pudding, and when I paid for it and handed my little ticket to the woman… she opened up a cooler that housed the arroz con leche with nothing in between the rice and that cooler. It was probably amongst the more unsanitary things I have ever seen as the woman is batting away flies from the food she is about to hand me. But I figure they have likely consumed plenty of things like this in that fashion so it’s not going to kill me… And almost a week later, here I am still standing.
This past week, we had a team here from Chapin, SC doing VBS. It’s been fun hanging out with the children. When they come up to me now asking if I understand Spanish, I just say yes and hope for the best. One evening, Andrew and I walked outside to help the teenagers watch the younger children during the women’s group meeting. We had a crew of about half a dozen 7-8 year old girls wanting to play various games with us. After the first few rounds of them walking down an invisible cat walk and having us give them a score on their sassiest walks… they decided we would play a new game. In very, very rapid Spanish, this little girl explained that 3 of us Gringos would stand in a line and sing a song. When we stopped singing, they would all jump on us like monkeys and whoever wasn’t attached to a person would be out. The great news is, I understand all of the directions and explanation she was giving. The bad news is, this is more or less the equivalent of human musical chairs. I turned to Andrew and the other Gringo with us and said, ‘I don’t want to alarm you… but as soon as we stop singing, they are going to pounce on us.’ We were terrified to stop singing but as soon as we did, they came at us like little spider monkeys. Andrew had a sunburn from earlier that day and by the end of it, all I could here was lots of giggling and Andrew yelling “my sunburn!” and “they got my leg hair!” I have never laughed so hard.
That’s all for now folks!
PS – for all who are wondering how Mack is doing… he has gotten the tour of the grounds and he loves it! At lunch time and in the evenings, we let Mack out to run around and play. He loves all the space. He is also loving having all these people around who pay attention to him. One day I let him out to play in the Pastor’s yard, and when I went to take him back upstairs to the apartment, the front gate to the compound was open. Ronald, the guard, ran over to the gate and jumped in front of it. As he crouched down in a Sumo wrestler position, he yelled “Listo!” which means “Ready!” I about died laughing. That was a sight to see!