Most of my blogging about my recent trip to Costa Rica was done over at the Costa Rican Diary. That however, is a blog I set up as a record of our trip for the students to be able to share with their parents and friends. By its very nature it cannot be personal.
There are, however, some very personal things that I'd like to share here. By personal I mean things that directly affected me in very real ways. Those things I want to post here.
The first of those personal things happened in the barrio pictured above.
Before I "go there," I have a confession to make. This was not my first time to leave our country and face abject poverty and hunger right in the face. This was not my first time to have my heart strings strummed. I've been to Africa, Haiti, and Mexico. I've seen conditions like these there. My heart has been stirred to action before.
But after each trip, I return home. Even with the best of intentions, it is so easy to get swept up in all that my American life entails. The longer the time and the farther the distance between my every day life and the lives of these dear Barrio People, the more their hunger and needs get placed on the back burner of my life.
I am not proud to admit this.
I think I have told myself that I HAVE been giving. I teach in a Christian school where my wage is small. I tithe. I support several missionaries. I even support one child in Zambia through World Hope.
And then I walked into the Barrio.
Over rough ground, and this is the main way in - - - not a back alley. The ground was much rougher than what shows in this photo. It was also muddy with the water refuse of the morning.
These are people's homes. Their HOMES. This is all they own.
In each of these homes there is a little grandma who is sheltering her daughter(s) and grandchildren. There are no men anywhere, they have long since gone on to other unhealthy things, and so there is little or no income. (The two men in the picture below are a missionary and the pastor of this little community.)
We took those little grandmothers a small bag of essential groceries - - - coffee, rice, sugar, noodles, and cookies.
We prayed with them.
They invited us in and thanked us.
Then we walked away. Back to our comfortable bus. Back to our lives of ease.
I remembered Jesus' words - - - "In as much as ye have done it unto one of these the least of my children, ye have done it unto me." I think of my house. My possessions. My cars. My blessings. And I realize I have done precious little for any of "the least of these." Precious little.
I realize I cannot make everything better.
I realize I am but one blessed American gal.
But I think I MUST do more.
I do not yet know what that will look like - - - but I am willing to be shown.