July 20, 2012
Today, Sarah made us a breakfast of scrambled eggs. I also had coffee and a banana. The local grown bananas are very small but yummy. We were supposed to walk over to Ruth's house around 8, but since it was raining so hard, she came to pick us up at the house. While we were waiting, Jerry climbed up the walls to work on some more wiring.
Sarah, Ruth, and I rode to another town nearby, La Gata, with the car loaded with clothes for a used clothing sale. We had packed clothing in feed sacks and the whole back of her SUV, the back seat, and the roof was full! There was barely room for me in the back seat! I took some pictures along the way when I could, but I missed a picture that I really wanted! We passed a house with two roosters perched on the fence in front of it. I am really hoping to get another chance at that shot!
Once we arrived in La Gata, the man who had set up the sale said that it was raining too much to hold the sale. The river was up and the high school was not in session, so many customers would not come. He (Salvador) invited us into his home to wait for the rain to stop. Salvador's wife made coffee and served us a pastry. Salvador's 16 year old daughter brought out her pet bird and I got to hold it! It bit my finger but it didn't hurt. They also brought out their pet parrot and took a picture with it on my shoulder!
Ruth is teaching English to Salvador's nephew, Graven, who lives across the street. He is doing well with His English and she brought some tapes for him to listen to. After a while, it stopped raining and Salvador and Graven helped us unload the clothes. It was just like setting up for the free swap and uniform swap we do at home. We folded clothes and laid them in piles on desks and chairs. At the bottom of one of the sacks I found a lizard! It made me squeal and hen giggle! The men tied up some rebar to make a place to hang clothes. I was impressed when someone thought to tie up a makeshift curtain for a dressing room with trash bags and rope! There were not a lot of people, but some clothes were sold and we will go back tomorrow to complete the sale.
Salvador's wife prepared a delicious lunch of pollo (chicken), rice and beans, platano (fried plantains), peyibaye (an orange fruit that tastes something like a sweet potato), and orange soda. I am missing water, but it does not seem to be a common choice of drink, though the water here is relatively safe for drinking.
Sarah and I were able to sit outside the school across the street and connect to the Internet, much to our delight! While we were working on posting our blogs and checking email, a few children, Danny, Wilmer, and Jeremy, came to sit by us. They were watching us, so I begin to show them some pictures on my IPad. They loved the pictures of my cabralitos (baby goats)! The kids had fun laughing at me because I called Jerry my "Esposa" (wife) instead of "Esposo" (husband)! They kept pointing to his picture and asking who he was to get me to do it again so they could laugh at me!
Before we knew it, some of them produced an UNO game and soon we were all playing! We discovered that it was only half a deck, amarillo y rojo (yellow and red), and that they played by their own rules, but we had fun! One of the kids, 8 year old Jeremy, loved my camera. I showed him how to take a picture and soon we were going all over taking pictures! When we told the kids,that we would be back tomorrow with activities and games, one boy said he would be waiting for us at 5am!
Later that day, we were invited to the house of the kindergarten teacher for coffee. She made a wonderful dish with plantains, butter, cinnamon, and cheese. We talked (with Ruth's help) about the differences in education between Costa Rica and the U.S. I was surprised to learn that she is not allowed to teach kindergarten children to read! She was surprised to learn how large our class sizes are!
When we returned to the sale, some older kids were waiting for us to play UNO! This time there was a full UNO deck and we played by the correct rules. I was surprised how easy it was to laugh and play together without knowing each other's language!
We were sorry when it was time to go, but when we returned to Arbolitos, supper was ready. Sarah and I walked to the house to get Jerry, who had spent the day alone working on the house. He has mostly finished what was planned for him so Ruth will have to think of more projects! He will come with us tomorrow and we will do some activities with the kids. I can't wait for him to meet them!
Dinner tonight was chicken, cheese Ruth bought from a lady in La Gata, rice, beans, avocado, homemade tortillas, and WATER! I was so happy! Our conversation at dinner was mostly about the false prophets and bad doctrine taught to the people here. Because of their lack of good education and confidence, they easily fall for false truths. Ruth's mission is to help raise up Pastors that will study and discern the truth so they can teach it to their people!
Jerry, Sarah, and I talked about our day on the walk home while we tried to avoid stepping on the fairy tale sized toads all along the road. We stopped in the library to make some sponge balls for games to play with the kids tomorrow. After quick showers we are in bed hoping to be lulled to sleep by the sound of the rain we have so quickly become accustomed to! So far though I only hear the frogs. We are, however, all enjoying the fans that Jerry hooked up in our rooms today!
July 21, 2012
It is light and raining, but I have been awake for a while now. It didn't rain much last night and I don't think I slept as soundly. I am not sure it was the lack of rain as much as my fullness of thought that kept me awake. I am in love with this place and I am wondering if I will ever be back. I am not sure if it is a selfish thought or a calling, but when I go home, I am sure I will long to return. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about the place, but I love the simplicity of life, the ingenuity of the people who have so little, and the hospitality I have been shown. I am drawn to their language, their rustic living conditions, the climate, the landscape, and even the color of their skin.
I haven't figured out why I am here. We will return to La Gata today, and I am hoping for clarity. We will be playing games with the children we met yesterday and many more, depending on the weather. Sarah and I have two craft projects planned that we will do with the children also. Both projects present the opportunity to share God's love and the salvation message, but I wonder if we can communicate well enough to make that clear. These people are not ignorant of the gospel, but I don't feel that they really know God on a personal level. I get the sense that this trip is more about building relationships and planting seeds.
Sarah will get the opportunity to visit La Gata two more times after today! She will return next Saturday on her own while we are on our way back to San Jose. She will also go the following Wednesday with the next group that comes to help Ruth. I am so excited to hear what God is up to with her! Sarah's mom, Connie, who came here seven years ago, will be here with Sarah's sister on Tuesday. Sarah has been trying to get here since her Mom came last!
I have been fascinated with all of critters here. I guess my life back home has prepared me for this part, since I am not bothered by the bugs and animals! There are dogs everywhere! It is not unusual to see several dogs wandering down the road. There is a three-legged dog that I have seen on this road several times! The toads and frogs (huge ones) are plentiful at night. The houses are not sealed, so birds and bats are not uncommon. A bat came into the library while we were working the other evening. On the plus side, the bats eat the bugs! The bugs are not as bad as I thought they would be. I have a few mosquito bites, but no more than I get at home! I did get bit by some fire ants the other day but, though they sting the fire out of you, the sting goes away quickly!
I have become accustomed to,walking everywhere in my muck boots. The volume of rain here keeps the ground wet and muddy. It's funny though, the rain isn't depressing, it's refreshing. People don't really stay in because of the rain, maybe because it's warm, life goes on! Right now, they are between the dry season and the wet season. I think the people here would agree with Carter when he said that dry is relative! Carlos told us that the rain that we have seen is nothing compared to what they have during the rainy season! This is the rainforest after all!