Friday, July 20, 2012

Costa Rica

July 18, 2012
6:30 am

Well, we are on our way. Since we begin to plan this trip it has seemed so far in the future. It came up suddenly and I can hardly believe we are really going to to Costa Rica. Jerry and I were looking at some of Ruth's pictures on facebook and it gave me a little perspective. I wonder if it will be anything like I expect!

I barely slept last night and my stomach feels funny today. I guess I must have a little case of nerves. I don't feel excited, but I am certainly not dreading the trip. I just really didn't want to leave home. It seems like we are leaving so much behind. I think it is really the first time that I haven't wanted to leave the kids. I am always glad to spend time with Jerry, but this is going to be longest I have been away from them! We will see how I feel by 7 days!

I don't really want to leave the animals. Ranger knew we were leaving and he started to act funny. Jessie just had her pups and I am concerned about them, especially in the heat we are expecting today. I have really grown fond of the goats. We just put fish in the pond! It occurs to me that I really love my home! I keep feeling like I forgot something, but I think it must be because so much of what is important to me is still at home.

I really felt like God was calling us to this mission trip. I hope that I can let go and experience what he has for me there. I can't help but hope there is a child involved, though that feels silly to me since my life is so very full. I have hopes in my heart for a job when I return, and if not, then the desire to start the studio. I am praying that God will speak to my heart about it all while we are away.

I am looking down at the clouds. I am glad I am not nervous about flying. It was fun to watch the two little boys across the aisle experiencing their first flight! Carter was about their age when we first flew with him!

July 18

The day was definitely not what I expected, though I was never sure what to expect! After a long flight to Costa Rica, we waited with Ruth a long time while Sarah's plane circled overhead due to a storm. Once she arrived we made the long drive to the town of Puerta Viejo, where We met Ruth's husband, Carlos. He had ridden in on a pickup truck with 12 guys for a soccer meeting. We waited for several hours until he was finished. We walked around the town and had an ice cream.

It was dark when we started the drive to Arbolitos. We passed through banana plantations and farms for an hour and a half (18 miles) on mostly unpaved roads. It was bumpy to say the least! We passed by houses with no doors and windows. The poverty is astonishing! The bridges are treacherous - one had a hole bigger than the tire on the car that went all the way through to the river.

Once we arrived, we put our suitcases in the guesthouse and had dinner at Ruth's house. Ruth's mother in law had prepared rice, beans, chicken, and potatoes. It was all tasty! We ate in chairs in their open air dining/living room. Jerry asked about the hammock hanging from the ceiling to which Ruth explained was their sofa!

We are sleeping under a tin roof and the rain sounds wonderful! It has been a very long day!

July 19
7:00 am

It rained off and on all night. The rain comes down harder than I have ever heard rain! The thunder is louder and deeper than any thunder I have ever heard. Ruth is right, it reminds one of Jurassic Park! It literally rolls! It was a pleasant night of sleep for me, since I love sleeping with the sounds of a thunderstorm. With each batch of rain, comes a refreshing breeze. We have an large "window", simply an opening covered with screen, right over our bed and there is a nice overhang of the roof, so it is like sleeping outdoors! No one here wakes to an alarm clock. Instead, they go to bed shortly after it gets dark and wake with the light.

I was the first to wake this morning. We are all so tired from the long day yesterday. We stayed up late the night before preparing for the trip and got up at 3 am to get the airport on time. We went to bed around 9 last night, but it was 11 at home. At least I don't really need to worry about waking anyone. No matter how much noise I make, they couldn't hear me over the sound of the rain and thunder!

I decided to get a shower when I woke up. The shower consists of a single stream of cold water. We were warned that someone may have to start the well pump to refill the tank! It may have been more effective to stand outside to shower! I am clean though, and ready to start the day!

Yesterday I was grateful that we don't have air conditioning at home. The humidity was similar to what I have become accustomed to!

We will brainstorm some craft ideas today and Jerry will begin to work on some projects in the guest house. I already have some ideas for him. The one outlet and one light could be increased, and the bathroom needs a hook on the wall!

July 19, 2012
8:30 pm

Today was a day of figuring things out. Sarah, Ruth, and I spent some time mapping out a plan for the next several days. We used a white board in the library to write out ideas for craft projects to do with the women and children. Sarah and I spent most of the morning sorting craft supplies. As we went through the boxes of donated items, we came up with other ideas. I am most excited about the bags of wooden blocks that Ruth found in her stash.

Meanwhile, Jerry and Carlos worked in the guest house. They hooked up lights throughout the house and on the porch, as well as outlets. Tomorrow they plan to finish the lights and outlets and hook up fans. Jerry only cut himself once, using a big knife to cut insulation off of wire. Carlos told Jerry that the knife came from Vietnam.

After a great lunch of pork, rice and beans, a tomato salad, fresh avocado, homemade tortillas, and fruit juice, we went back to work. While Ruth prepared for a used clothing sale, Sarah and I planned and prepared two craft projects that we will do with children who come to the sale with their parents. We cut yarn to make wrapped crosses from popsicle sticks. We found out that super glue and silicone glue work really well here. We also cut cord and sorted beads to make salvation bracelets.

After finishing our craft kits, Sarah and I walked down to the little house on the corner of the property where Ruth has begun a used clothing store. A little girl, Maryanna, was heading there to help Ruth, and I carried her across a very large puddle! Even though it stopped raining after lunch today, everything is still very wet! I am so glad I brought my muck boots!

We walked to Ruth's house for dinner tonight. Along the way, I took a picture of the fence posts that grow into trees, a group of people walking and riding a horse, and a sign that says "Welcome to Arbolitos, a place to remember" in Spanish of course! Earlier today, I took a picture of a man riding a bike and carrying a Weedeater! I can't wait to show that one to Carter! Dinner tonight consisted of fried plantains, rice and beans, avocado, tomato salad, boiled eggs, and fruit juice.

It just started raining again and it is so loud that I couldn't hear Jerry if he said something! It should be good sleeping tonight!

July 20, 2012
6:30 am

It was a good night of sleep. It seemed to rain off and on and there was one huge thunder boomer that startled me out of my sleep. I love the deep rolling sound of the thunder here and I am afraid I will never hear it like that again!

There are already things I know I will miss here, like the thunder and the sound of the rain coming down with the force of a water over a dam. I will miss walking down the dirt and stone paths and the tree fences. I will miss chatting with Sarah and the timelessness of the days. I will definitely miss the simplicity of life!

I miss certain luxuries of our life though. I miss the warmth of a full, hot shower and the ability to flush the toilet paper! I miss my family and my animals. I miss the connection of Internet and the phone, though I have not seen a single person using a cell phone since I have been in Arbolitos and that is refreshing!

My perspective has already begun to change! I thought it would, but I assumed it would take longer. I love simplicity of life! I love the slow pace here! I love that they go to bed early because it gets dark around 6:00 and they wake early because it gets light around 5:00. They make do with so little here and they seem satisfied with what they have.

Much is the same though. Family dynamics are a struggle. Children eat candy whenever possible. People get jealous of other's successes. Men shake their heads at their wives! We are all people!

I look forward to what the day brings!

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