Another amazing day full of lots of happy children, smiling parents, and a bit of misadventure. We’ll get to the latter a bit later. First, breakfast was an awesome buffet and then we had a group meeting about the day’s schedule. Keon and Cristal gave their testimony about how God led them through different phases of their lives together and showed them His plan and His timing was His best for them. We were reminded to drink lots of water and that the bus would leave at 9:10.
Our first stop was a school in a nearby village of Santa Cruz. We set up the boxes of Toms Shoes behind 2 rows of chairs and while some children were being fitted for new shoes, others were having their faces painted, making balloon animals, playing ball toss or blowing bubbles. It was really neat when girls returned with their mothers to help them get new shoes, too. And then, the little kids from nursery school came in as well. It was impressive to see how God was reaching out through us to help these people in this tiny community. We gave out at least a hundred pairs of shoes at our first stop.
Then we got to see a new kind of stove being produced as a pilot project totally supported by Samaritan’s Purse, Canada, so that there will be less incidence of respiratory illness in families due to the smoke not escaping the house when moms are cooking. Along with the new stoves, the families have trees planted in their communities and the children are invited to take part in the discipleship program, The Greatest Journey.
At lunch, we took a group picture of the whole team at the little restaurant where we had delicious fish & chips. The photo turned out really well.
In the afternoon, we did another shoe distribution that was in a school right on a highway. It had a little fenced garden out front that was very pretty and at the side of the building, there was a playground with a pair of small soccer nets. A slightly high kick would send their soccer ball over the fence and onto the highway. We gave away a lot of shoes to a lot of smiling kids and parents. At each school we give the principal and teachers a large container of school supplies and thank them for hosting us, then a member of the team says a prayer for the school, teachers, and the community they serve. It is a very special time.
After the host staff treated us to watermelon, we started to board the bus only to discover that it wouldn’t start. We sat on the cement steps from the highway to the school for about an hour and a half singing songs, telling jokes, and snacking while Carlos (national director for Samaritan’s Purse, Costa Rica) made arrangements for another bus. We arrived back at the hotel at 5:55 and supper was at six, so we were given the evening off and many of us got into the swimming pool to revive after our first full day of activities. Hopefully tomorrow will be as much fun with less of unexpected adventure.