As in the other schools we visited yesterday, the students mostly wore uniforms although a few did not. The classrooms had high slatted windows and were very stuffy. While we were setting up our Tom Shoes distribution, a retired teacher named Irma (86 years old) on our team went into one of the primary classrooms and sang songs with the children who knew the songs in English and sang them beautifully. They had a great time.
Once again, we had long lines of students sitting opposite us. Some told us their shoe size and were right, some knew their shoe size but their shoes were several sizes too big or too small. Some came with shoes falling apart and others had shoes that had become soaked from playing soccer. While we were fitting shoes on one group, another was doing face painting, sidewalk chalk games, and some of the same activities as yesterday. Lee, next to me, was giving Canada flag pins to all her “clients” in addition to nice new shoes.
A spontaneous change of plan brought us back to the same school after lunch to distribute more shoes to the older grades. It made for another very long day as we had a Christmas shoebox distribution scheduled for 3 in the afternoon. More about that later. At the shoe distribution, some of the team got involved in a soccer game, some students played with the parachute in the gym, and my friend Sharon got to give a pair of shoes to a sweet little girl in a wheelchair. It turned out that this particular school was having a sports day today so in addition to everything else going on they had a performer as well.
A short ride took us to a church in one of the poorer districts of Nicoya. Here, Carlos introduced us to the minister and his wife and told us his testimony of how they had prayed for him back when he had wanted nothing to do with God. Eventually he became a Christian, a minister, and now is the national team leader for Samaritan’s Purse. The platform was nicely decorated and the boxes that held the Christmas boxes were off to the side out of view because they were to be a surprise.
As the children began to arrive, we got out the bubbles, balloons, face paint, frisbees, colouring books, and nail polish. We set up tables for the activities and chairs for the moms arriving with little babies. We interacted with the families for about an hour and then two clowns came out to perform and engage the children. Then, Carlos gave a gospel presentation (in Spanish, of course) to the children and most of them were ver attentive and responded well. We gave out a booklet to each of them, and then we were ready for the main event: the distribution of the boxes!
This was really special for two families in particular who brought boxes with them and chose a particular child to give it to. One of these families consisted of our youngest team member, Tyson (13), and his mom Tara. I got a picture of them with their child. I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to snap the others.
Back to the hotel and a bit of a rush to dinner, a wind-up to the day and a chance to practise the songs again before most of the team headed for the pool. Another day full of blessings and the opportunity to see people truly in need receive blessings as well.