I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where it found us. – Anne Lamott
We’re reflecting on all the grace-filled experiences of this Mission Volunteer trip…the many times we’ve been guided by angels (and not so ‘disguised’), trusted with a personal story that touches the soul, offered an ‘adios’ and smile, given the honor of hearing dreams and disappointments, hospitality that refreshes the spirit, insights that break apart preconceptions and enhance perspectives. It is an amazing journey!
|Building fences around the well and chlorination building is another of the ‘finishing touches’ to meet the standards for community water systems. Building a chain link fence from start to finish (making poles, digging holes, mixing concrete, setting the poles, stretching the chain link fence, welding it to the poles, stringing barbed wire, building the gate…) kept the AVS crew (3+G) busy most of the week.|
10 DECEMBER: AMAZING! Los Chiles turned into a series of festive events culminating with last night’s parade of bands/dance groups from Guanacaste, Ciudad Quesada, Nicaragua and local schools and colleges. The sudden rain shower drenched everyone and dispersed the crowd, for a bit…but the show continued and it culminated with showers of fireworks! The evening before was the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the plaza with many groups of children performing Christmas vignettes, music and dances, which had been part of the kick-off event 2 days before in the ‘community salon’. (Last year this building was the hub for the emergency response for organizing food, clothing and mattresses distribution to hurricane victims.)
We had a fun time with the church’s neighborhood activity for kids with fire department staff teaching about pedestrian safety, showing them the protective clothing they wear, and spraying them with water : ) the youth handed out the reflective sashes. George (Gull) posted a few photos on FaceBook, December 2 – check it out!
Our visit and report to the San Jose Noreste Rotary Club pulled together some of the loose ends of the Global Grant: we have revised plans in the making for the education and capacity building work and the Host Clubs will visit the communities in February to celebrate their water systems and hear first-hand about the impacts. They are interested in projects with the schools, e.g., La Trocha wants help to complete the Kinder classroom.
11 DECEMBER: Wrapping-up thoughts from George: It’s been different doing the ‘cleanup‘ jobs on existing systems. Drilling a well is exciting. Drilling a well feels like there is forward movement. But the rest of the work is important for a functioning system, too…and takes time and talent to accomplish it. An analogy for much of the nitty gritty of life!
Drilling a well for a few homes is different; these larger systems have tall towers for the larger tanks, miles of pipes, chlorine systems, fences, etc. The community organizing and capacity building is another complex component that needs resourcing. Although various organizations have the appropriate trainings, they are not accessible to these remote communities. These volunteer roles are hard to assume when your priorities are basic daily living needs. The cooperative model is one that can build the communities’ “human capital” by helping to cover each other’s needs. Working together with the community assets is the approach that Agua Viva Serves is pursuing, “poco a poco, si Dios quiere!”
We had a lively lunch visit with Ralph, Mary, and Marly Miller on our bus trip through Ciudad Quesada hearing about their family and church, learning about cultivating pineapples, and finding local resources for advocating for students and undocumented residents. They send their greetings and love to all the St Paulians who have been part of their ministries over the years in Costa Rica!
All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go…it’s hard to say good-bye to the AVS team, La Carolina family, the church family, and all the folks who have been part of the projects and life that we connect with during these 2-month gigs. It’s also wonderful to know we will be seeing you all back home soon.
Advent Blessings of hope, love, joy and peace, n & G