This morning we packed our bags and bus after breakfast as we began our journey back to San Jose. Before we left the village of Nuevo Arenal we gathered at the Immaculate Conception Church of Nuevo Arenal. The pastor, Fr. Martin, celebrated a beautiful bilingual Mass for only our group and some of students assumed the role of the choir and lead us in song. During Mass he urged us to bring home and put into action everything we have learned about ourselves during the course of this week. At the conclusion he called all of us up to the altar and gave us a blessing of safe travels. It was a great way to end our week of service!
We were able to stop in the town of La Fortuna for lunch, some souvenir shopping, and to hang out in the town square park. We also had the opportunity to visit a local woodworking shop where the disabled owner creates beautiful pieces and sells them to support his family. He took us into his small shop and demonstrated how he carves some of his work. We saw firsthand how a jigsaw and chipper were able to turn a small tree stump into a beautiful bowl.
It has been a great week of service, of building and forming relationships, and a great experience of culture for everyone. Take a look at the attached pictures and you see many of the service projects we completed this week.... the painting of the kitchen, cafe, and mural at the Santa Teresa school as well as the painting of walls, benches, cafe, hopscotch, and mural at the Mata de Cana school. We accomplished all of these things plus working with so many children.
All of your sons and daughters will have many stories to share with you when they return to you about what they saw and what they did. So many have commented during our nightly reflections that “they didn’t know service could be this fun” and “how grateful they are for this opportunity. And last night that “going home is bittersweet they “cant believe it’s time to go already”.
Tomorrow the students will return with some more realization of the opportunities given to them, perhaps more inspired, maybe with a better understanding of what it means to serve and live out their faith, and hopefully with more wisdom about the world around them.
See you tomorrow