|Paul loading guava.|
We have had reasons to celebrate over the last few months. We live in an agricultural region and our neighbors are picking a bumper crop of guava. Since the price is up to $5 per crate, they are earning more than the $20 minimum wage per day. The coffee plants are full of berries and harvest is underway. Even Paul’s farm at the Emmanuel Center has an abundance of limes, yucca, plantain and bananas that he shares with neighbors and fellow missionaries and their ministries. We are praising the Lord for plenty of produce to give away. On the other hand, rain has been scarce, and folks are worried that the new crop of chili peppers they put in may not make it. Everyone is praying for the right amount of rain.
|Performing for Mother's Day.|
At the schools there have been a series of special events beginning with Mother’s Day back on August 15th. My English students did skits and read poems to express their appreciations for all the daily work moms do. They also gave the audience a laugh with a silly children’s rhyme about the clothes in the washing machine.
|The Ping Pong Ball Race|
The first Monday in September was Children’s Day. I organized some cooperative games like "The Ping Pong Ball Race" for the children to play and we practiced English by “going on a panther hunt”. Another teacher dipped marshmallows in chocolate with the kids and the cook made a special lunch with arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) and ice cream cones for dessert.
Then on September 15th Costa Ricans celebrated the 198th anniversary of their independence from Spain. In 1821 a man on horseback came from Guatemala the night of September 14th and brought the news of liberation. Everyone took to the streets with their lanterns to tell their neighbors the good news. So, every September 14th students make lanterns and everyone, young and old alike, come to the school at 6:00 pm to sing the national anthem, light their lanterns and make a parade through the community. The next day torches are run to all regions of the country to begin Independence Day celebrations at the schools.
|Lantern parade has many colors and symbols of Costa Rica.|
|Bridget visits Mariela's school.|
October 12th there are special school and community events for Culture Day. Here, much like the USA, there are a variety of indigenous people groups and people from many parts of the world who call Costa Rica their home. Their different traditions, languages, and foods are highlighted today. We went to a special event at a one room school and sampled food from Costa Rica, the USA, Germany and Nicaragua. We can thank Christopher Columbus for beginning an era of exploration and trade that impacted cultures around the world.
|Paul always makes new friends.|
|The Local Cemetary|
In the last month there were also reasons to mourn. Our friends’ 20-year-old son died because of a hit and run accident. No parent ever expects their child to die before they do. Relatives, friends, teachers, and students came to the funeral and burial to support the family. The next week I saw a black banner on the school gate and was told one of the teacher’s parents had died. It has been a difficult time for these families.
This makes me think of one of the many things Paul challenged the Roman church to do to demonstrate their Christian love: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
Grace and peace,
Bridget and Paul