Editor’s Note: This week some of the high school students from Floris UMC are in Costa Rica serving on a mission trip. This post was submitted by one of the students on the trip.
Submitted by Sam Greenfield
7 a.m.: A loud and hectic pounding on the door jolts me from my sleep which is dearly needed. I jump up exclaiming “HUH!?” which instantaneously has Ricky, another student on the trip, rolling over with laughter.
7:30 a.m.: I’m summoned down along with the rest of the group for breakfast where we’re greeted by the smell of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffeeall the taste with none of the bitterness! I then proceed to douse my scrambled eggs with Franks Red Hot which is now my new favorite hot sauce. I laugh with good people as we eat good food.
8:30 a.m.: At this point the morning meal is finished and we head out for the market. On the way we drive through a large swath of the country, watching these beautifully colored cement tin houses pass by. There is no shortage of plant life in this country; every square inch (or should I say centimeter) of land is covered by something green. The outcome is an image too stunning to capture with a camera. We jam out to a mix of old school ’70s and ’80s music along with modern hits the entire time.
10 a.m.: We arrive at the market and are swarmed by people trying to sell us their wares. It was a culture shock to haggle prices even though there was already a price tag in plain sight. The whole process is a delicate art form, in which the first person to show hesitation must concede. Since this was my first time haggling, it brought me immense amounts of joy. I fought tooth and nail to reduce the price of a burlap sack of freshly grown coffee beans from $10 to $7.50. And let me tell you, the smell alone that comes from that bag is intoxicating.
1:30 p.m.: After a rushed lunch we mosey our way onto the bus which takes us to the local Methodist church. This church resides in the heart of Costa Rica, with a coffee bean farm to its right and a line of beautifully gated tin shacks that house up to ten people and small convenience stores to its left. The church amazes me every time I walk up to its newly made gate, knowing that in all of its glory, it was built by the hands of missionaries just like me.
2 p.m.: Vacation Bible School. The entire group is overwhelmed by a mass of 64 children that arrive in ones or twos over the course of twenty minutes. The needle for the pump, along with the backup, and the backup’s backup are nowhere to be found. Our balls are as deflated as Tom Brady’s as we stand there unsure as to what to do next. In the end I decide to make orange juice from the lemons I have been given by wearing a fully deflated kick ball as a hat. I dance around making a fool of myself. Gradually, the kids who were hesitant at first begin to come out of their shells. They start to laugh and dance along with the rest of us as we sing songs in Spanish which I could not for the life of me memorize.
I would now like to share a few short conversations that I believe embody VBS for the day.
As I’m practicing hip hop moves the kids have just taught me while simultaneously trying to keep my kick ball hat on my head and performing hand stands.
Mother: “You are CRAZY!”
Me: “Thanks! No wait, gracias!”
I give her a blank stare.
Sally: “She wants to paint your nails!”
Me: “Let’s do it! I’m thinking some orange and confetti are both going to go perfectly with my eyes. We have nail polish remover right?”
Abby: “Yeah of course we do.”
I begin the tedious process of sitting there as the little girl painstakingly paints my nails in front of a crowd of children who can’t keep in their laughter. After all is said and done and the kids have moved on I go in search for Abby who I’m told has the nail polish remover.
Abby: “What nail polish remover? There’s none here!”
I wore the nail polish for another 3 hours until the girls finally gave in and handed over the bottle back at camp.
Booming laughs can be heard around camp sporadically, providing comedic relief from the serious talks that are commonly heard on a daily basis. The theme this week is reckless. I am observing recklessness everywhere I go; in my team, in the laughter of the children and even in myself as I am stretched and enlightened.