last week i went to costa rica with a group of 17 (11 kids, 6 adults) peeps from my church. we spent most of our time in san jose, the capital, working on the diocesan house (which is essentially home base for the regional episcopal churches).
it was a great time. we worked our tails off, plastering, sanding, sealing and painting walls, cleaning up our innumerable messes, gardening, and working (and playing) at hogar escuela, one of our pet projects. hogar escuela is a safe place for children to play and learn. it is a nursery, a school and an after school program. the children there typically live with their mothers, and know no father. if it weren’t for hogar escuela, these kids would be left to the streets during the day while their mothers worked to make ends meet. the streets are not a safe place to be.
hogar escuela started 45 years ago with only 6 families. several years ago, it was almost shut down, bankrupt and in ill repair. with a little help from the church and a lot of dedication from the families in san jose, hogar escuela is now one of the top ranked schools in costa rica (maybe the top ranked school?) and a favorite place for us to visit.
the episcopal diocese is about to build another school and daycare center like hogar escuela, just outside the worst slum in san jose, guarari. there, families live in corrugated tin lean-tos. most have come over illegally from nicaragua, where conditions are even worse. i look forward to returning to costa rica in years to come to see the school’s progress.
our lighter moments in costa rica were spent eating, drumming, singing, salsa dancing, watching the premier of harry potter, playing LOTS of games, zip-lining through trees, and chillin on the beach. we came home with stronger relationships, different perspectives, fun memories, inside jokes, new priorities, and a hunger for more of what God has to offer and asks us to offer of ourselves.