4/1/17-4/8/17. The Most Life Altering Week.

Our first day arriving at the school was absolutely incredible. The kids greeted us with a welcome banner and the national anthem, and they had all learned how to say “Welcome” in English. After the welcome ceremony the teachers had set up for us we immediately got to work. We divided into two groups, one group would work on the school building and one group went into class rooms to teach Bible stories and play games, and the groups would switch tasks every other day. The weekly labor task was for us was to repaint the main hallway of their open air school building. We did this by sanding down the previously painted murals and priming, patching, and redesigning the walls. The times we were in the classrooms were absolutely life changing. With the help of our amazing translators we would tell stories such as David and Goliath, and put on an interactive play to go along with the story. After the stories we would do a craft followed by a game. These crafts were things tied to a story. For example, after the story about the lost sheep in the book of Matthew, the kids made rainbow sheep with tissue paper. The crafts were such a bonding experience simply because these kids could not understand sand for the most part, we could not understand them. But we all found ways to communicate both with and without our translators through things such as pointing and drawing. There was one girl that I bonded with instantly. Her name is Sophia Cameron. Sophia Cameron was 5 at the time of the trip, and in kindergarten. Our friendship started when I complimented her on her My Little Pony backpack, and her face instantly lit up. I speak Spanish well enough to get my point across, and began to tell her that I have a horse back in the United States and his name is Jackson. She responded by hugging me and telling me how she loves horses, and from that moment forward, she never left my side. We spent that week laughing and learning all about each other, despite the challenging language barrier. Everyday when we walked into the school all the kids would run and give us hugs, it was absolutely amazing. The area surrounding the school was in such disrepair one may see the city of Pavas and think it was partially abandoned; but these kids didn’t know that. They didn’t know they were ‘poor’, they didn’t know there was a life different from theirs. They were happy and grateful to get to brush their teeth at school, and eat a home cooked lunch made by their teachers. It was such a humbling experience and it taught me to never take anything for granted. The people of Pavas were so welcoming to all of us, and treated us like family. I left Costa Rica with a new outlook on life and new bonds that I will cherish forever. I left the Carlos Sanabria Kinder with experiences that have now shaped me as a person. I left Pavas with a new appreciation for what I have. And I left Sophia Cameron with a promise that I’d see her again, and that I’d bring her a picture of my horse.

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