Updated: Sep 9, 2018
Welcome back :)
As I sit here drinking the very last of my Costa Rican coffee (*cries*) I figured it was about time to unpack the next few days for you. Today I want to talk about La Guaria.
The mission of Agua Viva Serves is to work alongside local communities to help bring clean, safe, accessible drinking water to their homes, and it is such a huge deal. Having clean water accessible in a home completely transforms everyday life for people; it's such an amazing organization and I'm so grateful to have gotten to be a part of it. The town that we had the privilege to work in was called La Guaria, it is about 1 mile from the border of Nicaragua, and has a population of about 400-500 people, who currently do not have access to clean drinking water, and would sometimes travel miles after a full day of work just to find clean water for their families. Crazy. God is so good to us, in every day moments, and we are blessed beyond measure to be able to turn on a sink and drink from it, cook with it, and wash with it.
The people of La Guaria are some of the kindest, most hospitable people I've ever met. They welcomed us with such open, loving arms. They made us the most amazinggg meals every single day, they would come out with their families and bring us coffee and goodies, and even though many of us did not speak fluent Spanish, there was a connection deeper than words between us all. We sweated together, laughed together, got covered in mud together, prayed together, played silly games together, and even if just for those moments, we all just got to be together. Truly be. And what a blessing that was. I will never forget the people of La Guaria and am so thankful that they will forever be imprinted on my heart wherever life may take me.
I hope you will travel to La Guaria with me in this post and that you will prayerfully consider donating to the continued efforts of Agua Viva to provide clean water there, and throughout communities in Costa Rica. God Bless <3 (Link: https://www.avs.ngo)
July 30, 2018- Day 2
I can't believe it's only been 2 days here- it's only Monday. I never want to leave this place, everyone is so nice, and welcoming, and patient with us and although my mindset hasn't been where I wish it was, I know that God is still showing me new things each and every day. I didn't really have time to journal this morning because we had such an early start, so let me recap the day as best as I can. We got up early, had breakfast at 6:30, and then left at 7. (P.S. - I love beans & rice for breakfast now lol) We drove about 2 hours to a very small, very rural town today called La Guaria (it's the official flower of Costa Rica) - I love this land, this place. It's so insanely beautiful here. On our very rough, very muddy, off-roadin' terrain today we passed by miles and miles of pineapple fields. We even got to try some fresh from the field, right off Chente's knife, and it was the most delicious pineapple I've ever had. Many of the people here walk to work in the pineapple fields all day, and then still have to go out and find clean water after work for their families sometimes...crazy. That shouldn't be an issue for anybody, ever. I've met so many amazing new friends already. Bayron is an Agua Viva staff member and he is so funny, he always does "made ya look" or the fake shoulder tap and I fall for it every single time lol Fran and Chente are so nice and even though they don't speak much English, they still find a way to tease me too haha Everyone is so accommodating and so willing to go out of their way to help you learn and understand. We had lunch at a local family's home today and these two ladies cooked everything from scratch for us and was so good! The food here is unreal, like so so so good lol Hands down the best chicken & rice I've ever had. It's nice not to think about calories for one week of my life and just enjoy and truly appreciate the meals here. They don't waste anything here and it makes you appreciate everything so much more. I got really dirty today, like I dug a super muddy ditch and my boot got a hole in it and just flooded with water lol but it was so much fun and so cool to think that those pipes will bring water to people's homes every single day. I will miss the people here so much.
Thoughts/Reflections from Day 2
I remember the drive out La Guaria, just being totally in awe of how beautiful it was and how many pineapples there were! I remember thinking how this was such a remote, rural part of the world that most people will probably never see, and how blessed I felt to be there, and to get to meet, and know, the people there. I remember finally arriving in La Guaria and just taking it all in for a second, trying to picture what my life would look like if I had been born here, if this was my every day. I started to see children skipping home from school, friends hanging out on their porch, watching funny videos on their phones, little girls playing dollies, and little boys running through tunnels in the dirt, people talking and laughing together, cleaning their homes, and cooking dinner; and suddenly, it wasn't so remote and rural anymore. Suddenly, it was just a place they called home. And how grateful I was, even if just for the week, to get a glimpse into the beauty of this place called home.
On Day 2, we got right to work. My boot got a hole in it and flooded with mud lolol it was squishy and gross, and low-key I felt like a five-year-old squishing my toes around in the mud and didn't even care :P Bayron and Fran taught us how to install the hook-ups from the main pipes that had already been laid, to each individual home. It was so cool to see and meet the families whose homes we were helping install water pipes for.
We had lunch at the same family's home every day, and they were so amazingly accommodating and welcoming to us all. They took such time and care with each and every meal they prepared, the table was always so beautifully set, and they welcomed us with lots of yummy food and smiling faces. There was a little boy who lived there, Douglas, and he was about my sisters age. He was so excited to show us all his toys, in particular a pig which honked obnoxiously lol he was also very proud of his cat "Gatolandia!" haha! We worked for a few more hours after lunch then headed back to Los Chiles for the night. I fell asleep on the way home that first day, and had never been so excited to take a shower in my life when we got back to the hotel. I was so thankful for that shower, and for soap, and for hot water!!! Also, for a bed, I think we were all pretty pooped that night, but it was worth every minute :)
July 31, 2018 - Day 3
(I was so tired this day that I entered my journal thoughts in my phone notes just before passing out, but I am happy that I captured my highlights from the day!)
Today was amazing we went back to the job site and did four more connections for houses we had lunch at the same family‘s house today, she made a homemade chicken noodle soup kind of thing but with rice instead, also I figured out that the chicken we've been eating is definitely from their farm which wigs me out a little bit but I’m trying to think about it too much lol God has softened my heart so much already and I’m so thankful to Mariam. Chente and Bayron are so funny ! I got really sunburned and I saw a dead snake in a bag it was gross but so cool 😂👍🏼 Me and Mariam had a really good talk in the truck on the way home about life and about what I might want to do with mine. She such a cool chick and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get her know her better. Tomorrow we get to go to the English school and work with the kids there and I’m super excited!! Everything here is been so amazing so far and I’m so thankful! Thank you God, I love you. 🙏🏼💛🤗
Thoughts/Reflections from Day 3
Alright so let me unpack this day a little more for you since ya girl was snoozing hard that night lol The second day we got to see a little bit more of the town, it's a lot bigger and more spread out than I had initially realized, so that was really cool to see. Bayron and Chente told us all about the different plants that were being grown in the farms all around us. Some were fruit, some used for medicine, others were crops grown by each family for their own personal use, such as corn. This was the only day during the week we were there that I remember it bring brutally hot. All of the other days there was at least cloud coverage that actually gave us a really nice temperature for working outside in. Overall I was actually really surprised at the temperature in Costa Rica, don't get me wrong, it was humid and hot for sure, but the rain each day cooled everything down. God is so wise in His design. Also, one of the guys from Agua Viva rolled up on his motor-bike while we were working that day and was talking with us for awhile and then was like "Oh, by the way, I have a dead snake with me" and then dumped some giant, poisonous snake out of a plastic bag and said he killed it with a knife. Casual. But what was really interesting was that he said that it had medicinal qualities which people used to fight against cancer. Super cool. On the way home that day I got to have a long talk with our group leader Fikirte Mariam, who is one of the most influential and amazing individuals I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. She has such a fascinating life story and I just feel like a little sponge every time I'm around her, soaking up all the smart and incredible things she has to say. She is so strong, and confident, and inspiring and I'm so grateful to have gotten to know her on a deeper level over the course of this trip. Her, and many other awesome members of our Agua Viva team! I'm so thankful that God allowed me the opportunity to get to know people's stories more over this trip, and to realize the importance of knowing someone's story. How knowing their story makes them human, just like you, and that suddenly all of your differences don't seem so different after all. When we know people's stories, when we take the time to really get to know who they are as a person, as another human being, with hurt, and brokenness, and hopes, and laughter, and family, and life pumping through their veins, then we can start to see others all as God see us. As His children; worthy, precious, and loved. It was a beautiful reminder to me that we are all going through this human experience together, and that God calls us to help each other through it, to spur each other on, to lift each other up, and to love each other as He first loved us.
More soon...until then, God bless <3