Today was our last day in the community. We finished filling the little planting baggies after another two hours or so, working alongside many members of the community. We filled a total of around 1000 baggies over the last two days! They will be planted with mango and orange tree seeds, and distributed among members of the community for community and family gardens. Lori and Fran spent the morning at the school again, teaching a short art lesson, and making bracelets with the kids. They also brought a puzzle that the kids absolutely adored! After lunch, we sat down for our traditional fiesta with the community. Songs were sung, stories were shared, thanks expressed, and the kids beat the snot out of the pinata. Here, it’s a requirement, if you’re up to bat with the pinata, that you dance while doing so. I see some talented KC baseball players coming down the pike! When it burst, I saw kids and adults alike made a mad dash to pick up the candies. So much laughter and smiling faces!
The community put on two short skits for us. For one, two of the ladies dressed up like old men, selected one after the other ladies from the group to come, and essentially sparred over who got to keep the “beautiful ladies.” We couldn’t understand it all of course, but watching them have so much fun with it, was delightful. Next they put on a traditional dance routine, in which two dancers (a man and a woman) danced for us. One woman’s “features” were accentuated with balloons under her clothing. She then went around pulling random members of the group into the dancing ring. Let’s just say… It was quite entertaining.
Lastly we said our last words to the community about how thankful we were to have worked alongside them during this time, and how much we’ve loved getting to know them. They in turn told us how thankful they were for our visit and working “mano-a-mano” (hand in hand) with our group. Some tears were shed, many members hugged us and we waved our last goodbyes.
It was good to hear that the people here have felt blessed by our presence. In reality, the physical work we’ve done could have been done by them (and probably faster!), but they expressed so much gratitude for us coming anyway. Just like for us, for them it’s much more about the connection they’ve made with us, and the knowledge that someone has seen them and experienced their need firsthand. Aid being sent in from a far-off place is one thing, helping “mano-a-mano” is another. We share not only in the physical need, but come also to walk alongside them in spirit. Once again, I’m reminded of the incarnation of Christ. God didn’t just set up a system for us to relate to him through ritual, where he remained far off. He physically came into our world and walked in it. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1: 14). God knew that to effect a redemption of the whole (physical, emotional and spiritual), he would have to walk with us. He knows our need for relational connection.
Tomorrow we head off to lake Apoyo, for our R&R.