Costa Rica, Day 8 — Heading Home!

Saying goodbye is never easy and today was no exception.  The Costa Rica Team 2017 was absolutely awesome!  When you get a group of 28 strangers coming together, you never know what can happen and this team was very fortunate.  The youngest member was 13 and had seemingly boundless energy and a great rapport with the kids we met and the other adults and young people in our group; the oldest member was 86 years young and was a real draw for the kids, handing out pins of Canadian flags, stickers, and was also able to watch over our bags and water bottles while we were interacting with the children doing face painting, nail painting, colouring, soccer, balloon animal making, and so forth.  In between, we had people from cities, farms, retired folks, young people from university, dog breeders, hairdressers, moms, grandmas, couples, singles — all hoping to make a difference in the lives of children.

One final breakfast buffet at the Hotel el Regalo, hand in the room keys, and load up the bus.  Once we got to the airport, we filled in customs forms for leaving the country, Gil (one of the team leaders) took our passports and Samaritan’s Purse covered our exit fee from the country.  Sharon & I tried to get our luggage tagged for straight through to Ottawa but couldn’t; however, we did get our boarding passes for Toronto which meant we didn’t have to pay the baggage fee we would have paid if I had tried to check in online with WestJet.

Photo Credit: Gil Dimas

While we waited for our flight, we debriefed.  Gil and Kerstin had a small beachball with questions all over it and we tossed it around.  Everyone read out a question and responded to it, things like: “What made you smile?” and “What inspired you to think differently?”  I answered the latter question as there were lots of things I realized I would do differently another time.  I would pack differently both for myself and for things I would take for the kids.  I would take shorts as the capris were too hot in that weather and some short sleeved blouses wouldn’t have been as hot as some of the T-shirts, although the Samaritan’s Purse T-shirt was very lightweight and comfy.  I’d take a shoe box to give to a specific child and would bring tattoos and nail polish and stickers (especially with Canadian flags on them) and I think I should learn to do face painting.  These things were a real hit with the kids.  The debriefing game was fun and interesting and passed some of the wait time.  Should have bought a sandwich to eat on the plane but planned to order the same lovely turkey and cheese croissant that we had shared on the flight down.  Turned out they only had a chicken wrap on the flight back which really didn’t appeal.  Next time I’ll know better.

When we got into Toronto, it was a tight connection for the people travelling west to Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver but I think they all made their flights.  Our flight to Ottawa was delayed but only by about a half hour so we grabbed a bite to eat with Gil and Kerstin at the only place that was still open at 10 pm at the airport.  We were pretty much dead on our feet when we got home and totally crashed.  It will take some time to adjust back into what for us is “normal” society — time change and culture shock are sure to set in.  The latter will take longer to deal with but what an amazing, totally blessed trip we have had!  Thanks to everyone on the team — Canadians, Costa Rican partners, translators, and our bus driver, Renan, who always managed to avoid being in our group pictures.

The Costa Rica Team 2017 — Photo Credit: Gil Dimas


About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
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5 Responses to Costa Rica, Day 8 — Heading Home!

  1. mysm2000 says:

    Reblogged this on Ms M's Bookshelf and commented:

    Well, life has been very busy since I returned from Costa Rica about a week and a half ago and things haven’t quite settled back to normal. I hope to start writing about books again soon but in the meantime, this is my final posting from my trip on my other blog, On The Road with Ms. M. I hope you enjoy my Sunday reblog!

  2. Great post about such a meaningful trip. Hope you’ve gotten over the culture shock. My friend’s husband spent a few months volunteering in an impoverished African country. When he returned to Ireland he found it very difficult to deal with the transition and would often complain about how materialistic everyone was here. It took a long time for him to adapt back into a ‘western’ society.

    • mysm2000 says:

      Thanks for your comments. I’m hoping it won’t take me too long to adjust. We had an amazing time and I don’t for a minute regret going. Just to see the children’s faces and to know that our being there was making a difference, was worth the heat, humidity, and totally packed days. Now, it’s processing everything & thinking about what needs to be said to encourage others to pack the shoeboxes, make the trip, contribute financially, so that so many more can be reached. I’m hoping to host some shoebox packing parties this December to help involve others. It’s not the box and the gifts but what it represents — that these kids are loved and important no matter what their circumstances. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  3. mysm2000 says:

    Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by.

  4. Good article, thanks

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