Mission Volunteer Journey – update #2
Agua Viva Serves (www.avs.ngo), Los Chiles, Costa Rica
31 October 2018
Hola! Think of a time when things turned out better than you could imagined. remember how elated you felt? Or maybe extraordinarily grateful? Or so happy that you were 2 people? Well, that’s the kind of week this has been….
Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica engagement. The UNA buses pulled up to La Carolina with 36 hungry college students. They were energized for their 2 days of activities with elementary students in 3 of the remote communities that Agua Viva Serves has assisted. And their faculty advisors were unusually excited: they had just learned that their proposal to work with 5 local communities which have new water systems had been ranked #1 by a Costa Rican consortium of public universities that awarded them a 2-year grant! UNA faculty and students will be helping with water testing, assessing health outcomes and follow-up educational initiatives, water conservation, and a host of other topics related to the communities’ goals. WOW!!
Connections for Communities. We have been talking since 2015 about how universities and government agencies might assist and UNA faculty picked up on some of these ideas to deepen their students’ experiences. Last year they held focus groups and conversations to identify local goals and strategies, then crafted a multi-pronged grassroots effort to engage in participatory research and education. We can’t wait to read the whole proposal…and participate in the stakeholder and community gatherings during November. What a meaningful contribution they are making to sustainable community development in this region!
Concrete & Mud. The Florida team left Friday morning after 4-days of installing over half of the 100 water meters in La Guaria. That’s a lot of concrete mixing, wheelbarrow manuevering, and connector glueing…especially when it’s raining and so muddy that one mis-step finds your tall rubber boot immersed in the red clay. And then you have to sit in it to get your leg out of the ‘gumbo’ and you can imagine how the rest of the day goes! Muddy boots were washed and bagged to pack into their luggage…how to you answer that customs question about being on a farm? No, sir/madame, it was a road in rural Costa Rica : )
Visits, Visions & Virtual Reality. What can turn a very rainy, muddy day into an extraordinary experience?
How ‘bout standing in the downpour under the dripping black plastic roof over a families’ front door with the toddler playing peek-a-boo behind his sister’s legs and around the corner of the door frame? How ‘bout the visions of community leaders for their future to have water, electricity, markets for their produce, better roads? How ‘bout visits with Self Help International, a sister NGO in Nicaragua, sharing ideas to build a partnership for communities on the border? how ‘bout being part of St Paul’s Sunday worship by U-Tube?
Every time we turn around there are ways the connections are growing and the universe is providing more than we ever could have imagined (Ephesians 3:20) …so much and so rich! what an awesome experience to be freed from the daily cloud in our ‘back home life’ to let all this flow through and around us…we wish you all could be here!
Abrazos y bendiciones, n & G