Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Last Game of the Year

Sheets of rain soak the ground in our small jungle clearing. Our bare feet churn the field into a stream of mud and grass as every drop of rain swells the ranks of the CaƱo Bravo River on its steady march toward the sea. Bruises and mud are my war paint. My lungs burn as I streak down the field. An opening forms in the enemy ranks, and my brother in arms takes the shot. His aim is usually excellent, but his feet are wet and the target is small. The ball goes left and the enemy rushes in for an interception. I run. I run as hard as I can. I run a little bit harder. My opponent is closer and more skilled, but I want it more. I slide. My body cuts a path through the mud and, for the first time ever, my aim is good. I drill the ball the last 5 meters into the goal. I score. I score the first soccer goal of my life in a rain soaked field in Costa Rica, against people who speak no English. I score in a goal that is two feet wide.


It feels like Christmas and home are just around the corner. I have been pretty homesick this trip. I just feel like I am missing out on all of my relationships. There are a lot of great things about Delta, and I love my friends here (especially Juan, Herol, and Joel), but it will be nice to spend some time with my close friends and family.

I don’t really know how to describe all that I am feeling. I want to do this water catchment project, but I am also ready to be home for good. I hope that I am able to take full advantage of my time here to serve Christ, and I hope that he gives me a good attitude for the rest of my time in Costa Rica.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I am about to revise my letter to Ana. I have been talking with the pastor next door, as well as some of my neighbors, and I am starting to get a better sense of the needs that people have on the river. I am going to try to talk with Ana about shifting my mission a bit.

The zone that I live in is called Delta, and it is one of the poorest places in Costa Rica (which is admittedly one of the richest countries in Central America). The area is so difficult that, during the annual floods, the Red Cross brings sacks of food to each family on the river to help sustain them. The families here have no clean drinking water, no electricity (except for a couple of families with generators), and the majority have less than a fifth grade education. The people here know how to live in this environment, and it is not a struggle for them to survive, but there is a lot that could be done to improve their standard of living as well.

As I was sitting in the boat riding back from Barra, Pastor Carlos Catilla asked me if I knew of any groups that did work with proving systems for making clean drinking water (wells do not work here because of the shallow swampy terrain and contaminated ground water). I told him that there were many groups like that, and that I even had a little bit of training in that area. I started to tell him about rainwater catchment systems, which would be the cheapest, easiest, and most reliable way for them to harvest clean drinking water in a rainy region like Delta. He asked me if there was something I could do to raise the support to have rainwater catchment systems installed on the 16 homes in this zone of the river.

I have become really excited about the potential of this project. I need to talk to Ana, and I need to look up some numbers, but I think that we can provide the families around here with clean drinking water for a relatively low cost. In a high rain area like Costa Rica, you do not have to have very many feet of gutters to harvest enough rain for a good sized family. I need to price the gutters, spigots, and a special filter that my sustainability teacher taught us how to make. If the price is low enough, we can provide each family with a set of gutters, a filter, and a spigot, and most of the families here will be able to provide their own water tank.

Please pray for this. For this to happen it has to be the will of God. If it is his will, then the problem of finding finances to do this project, and getting Ana’s permission are in his hands.