The last two days have been somewhat less critical than the first. Yesterday we spent the morning at an Internet cafe, and then we met with Timoteo again. We discussed plans for him to meet the team on Sunday, and he offered to make breakfast for the teams. He was going to be busy today, so we made plans to purchase food with him for breakfast on Friday, which is tomorrow. We also have plans to meet with the Bribri president tomorrow at 2:00.
After returning to the hotel yesterday afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the remaining daylight, and I took a walk along the beach. I met a gentleman who was quite disconcerted about the possibility of falling coconuts. He warned me that I was risking death by continuing to traverse the coconut laden path, but I courageously carried on. It turned out to be a beautiful walk, and I even found a rocky cliff with a great view of the sea. Though it was completely dark by the time I returned, I managed to make it without a single coconut falling on my head.
Since we were not able to meet with Timoteo today, we had to put some of our objectives on hold until tomorrow. This allowed time for me to take a long walk this afternoon. As I meandered along the beach, I noticed a man in the water cleaning off his legs. I passed him by and glanced back and saw that he was now sitting on a bench when a woman with two police officers approached him. He appeared to be a tourist from the United States or Europe, and she was clearly a local Costa Rican woman. She was irate! She walked up close to him as he sat on the bench and began screaming and yelling profanities at him. I further noticed as she was yelling that his leg was all bloody. The oddest aspect of the scene was that he sat on the bench apparently unmoved. He did not respond indeed he looked the same as he had when he sat there alone. The two policemen stood by but let her say her piece (and it was a long piece.) I eventually continued to walk away in spite of my curiosity, and she was still yelling as I left. I can’t can’t imagine what he could have done to illicit her furry, and I wonder how he hurt his leg, but now I will never know.
As I walked around, I was struck by the diversity of people in this town. There are many English and Creole speaking people from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean. Additionally, there are Europeans speaking an assortment of languages; some are tourists and some have moved here. Of course, you have your share of American tourists. Rich, poor, dark-skinned, light-skinned you will find everyone here. Traveling in a country in which I speak little of the language, I find myself people watching. Sometimes a unique looking individual catches my eye, and I can’t help wondering, “What is his or her story?” Where are they coming from, and what brings them to Costa Rica? Even though I will never know most of their stories, it doesn’t hurt to wonder. Diversity is a good thing. It keeps things interesting.
When I was walking up to our room earlier today, I did have the privilege of learning a bit of one interesting person’s story. His name is Jason and he lives in the hotel room next to ours. He was on the table drawing a design. I struck up a conversation, and he began to show me his art. He makes artwork and writes poems to insert into his designs. He began to explain that his shapes needed to be flowing, but they also need to have form and commented that this was a difficult balance to reach. Once he pointed out different examples I understood what he meant. It was evident that he was passionate about his work.
Jason is from England, and he makes is living selling artwork on the street in the United States. He is staying in Puerto Veijo because he can live very cheaply and work on his art. He says that he makes barely enough to survive, but he feels that he is doing the right thing because his art encourages people. He jokingly told me that someday when he’s famous, I can tell my friends that I knew “that guy.” He said that I could start all kinds of nasty rumors about him and sell them to the National Enquirer. I laughed and told him that I would claim that he ripped me off back in Costa Rica, and he really owed me half his fortune.
Yes, the great thing about traveling is that you meet interesting people. The opportunities that we have to meet various kinds of individuals broaden our perspectives. When I see people I naturally make projections based on my impressions; some people are likable and others seem a bit odd. It’s strange to think that when God sees all these people, he sees his children, and he loves them. God loves coconut man, bloody legged tourist, irate woman, artist Jason, and mission trip leader Josh. My prayer is that God would help me to see people as he sees them, and this is also my prayer for the teams during these next couple of weeks because that is when we become a picture of God’s love.
**To learn more about what Experience Mission is doing, visit our website at www.experiencemission.org.