Dear People of Christ Church,
In June I had the pleasure of spending two weeks in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Leading up to the trip I concentrated on getting ready in all forms. I needed the normal immunizations every healthy person requires to travel to these locations along with the things my doctors felt were necessary. On top of that, everything I own had been packed up and moved into storage, so finding the things I needed was interesting even though I really tried to pack all the things I would need for the trip in one easily accessible box. The stress of all of this, plus the excitement of leaving the country to a place I’ve never been wasn’t only taking a toll on my mental health, but my physical health was showing signs of deterioration. There was no way to hide it from my doctors as hard as I tried. More than a small part of me was afraid that after all the work and planning they were going to tell me they didn’t feel comfortable with me leaving the country. But instead of saying I shouldn’t travel, Dr. Mike told me he’s always wanted to visit Nicaragua, so if I were going to need medical attention save it for week two.
When we arrived at the home in Costa Rica the caretakers were there to give us a walk through and show us how to use the alarm. They pressed upon us the importance of having the alarm on at all times, even when we were there. I was too tired from the full day of traveling to fully absorb the implications of needing the alarm set to En Casa while we were hanging out at the house. The next day, however, was a different story. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw driving through the city. Home after home was gated with ornate iron bars topped with razor wire. Police were on every corner. Even the ATM warned to put your money, cards and cell phones away before exiting the booth. It was unsettling. We did enjoy our time in Costa Rica, visiting the rain forest, seeing family, sampling the local cuisine and exploring museums. And it was over before we knew it.
Nicaragua was a whirl of delicious food, picturesque landscapes, and swirling seascapes. One day we drove out to see an active volcano. As we drew closer we could see the mountains standing tall like the points of a crown, with the volcano holding its place of honor. My camera couldn’t quite capture the haunting beauty of it all. We saw poverty like I’ve only seen on those Save The Children ads from the the 90’s. There were times when I cried while I was alone because I felt so helpless in finding a way to do anything for any of these people. Some had dirt floors, but easy smiles. They worked hard every moment, not because they had to, but because it is who they are. They spoke multiple languages and didn’t always know where their next meal was coming from. It occurred to me just how privileged I am just because I was born in this country. No one I met acted like they had less; in fact, they seemed to have more: More knowledge of what’s really important in life. More understanding of a good work ethic and the sense of pride from creating and fixing things with your hands and mind. More smiles, laughter and love of themselves and their families.
Peace and hugs,