After a lovely 3 hour bus ride back from the beach, I’ll make this concise because I have to go apply aloe vera to my roasted skin. As a veteran of this mission trip, I thought I knew the Rich Coast front and back. I traveled through the Costa Rican slums last year and felt as though I was experiencing the pain of the majority of the people living there. What I failed to see was the kids’ side of the situation. One week of attempting to converse in a language I thought I was good at after four years of studying, one week of breaking my back to give piggyback rides to what I thought would be a couple of children, one week of pure tomfoolery and I finally understand why the kids had so much fun: this is their vacation. When we leave tomorrow, the kids will go back to living in poverty, waiting for us to return a year from now. They don’t deserve this. No one does. And the worst part is that I can’t spend more time here to try to dent that wall called poverty. I would sacrifice anything for just one of the beautiful children struggling to exist in this violent and unsanitary environment. Why? Because they’re worth it.

–Aidan Smith

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