Happy Sunday from rainy Costa Rica!! We had a fun-filled day shopping at the fresh food market, visiting a volcano, and eating a traditional costa rican lunch.
During the presentation yesterday, we learned that Open House offers church services three Sundays a month. Unfortunately, this was the week that they took off, so we were unable to go to the church. Although we were sad that we were not going to be able to hear Seth Condrey sing or visit the NPM strategic partner, our spirits were lifted when we heard what was in store for us today.
After a yummy breakfast that reminded us of home (scrambled eggs, french toast, cereal & fruit), we boarded the busses to the open-air fresh produce market. Hundreds of tents were lined up, each covered tables filled with fresh fruit & vegetables. Behind the tables were people from ages ranging from little children to grandmothers. Everyone we talked to was so friendly, they offered us samples of their fresh fruit and were extremely patient with our spanglish questions. As we were walking toward the market, the Open House team members handed groups of 7 a little piece of paper that listed three different types of fruit. It was our responsibility to find the fruit and buy enough of it for the whole team to try. When we were all finished, we were treated with freshly made cheesy corn tortillas (YUM!).
We hopped back on the bus for an hour and a half drive up to the Irazu Volcano. The national park is located about 12,000 feet above sea level, which meant we drove on lots of curvy roads that looked over luscious green fertile land full of with terraces and farm houses. The drive up was absolutely gorgeous, and the higher we climbed, the more clouds we drove through. Once we got to the top, we bundled up in sweatshirts and rain jackets because it was rather chilly due to the high altitude. We all walked around the large area of black rocks and sand where we were able to see the wide craters and take pictures of course! After lots of walking around, we went to the merchandise/snack store located on the volcano, ate some authentic costa rican snacks and warmed up with some hot coffee and chocolate con leche (hot chocolate).
After the drive down from the volcano, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant named Mi Tierra and ate some yummy authentic costa rican food. Everyone worked up an appetite and chose between chicken, pork, fish, beef as their meat, along with a side of rice, refried black beans, lettuce with tomato, and a fried plantain. There was a band called Dominguenos that a few of the kids on our team knew from last year, and they let a few of us play the xylophone and drums for the restaurant. We traveled back to the hotel and a big group of us took a trip to a local grocery store. Its been interesting and challenging to learn the difference of the currencies here.
Some rest was much needed after an eventful day. After resting and meeting with small groups, the Wyndham Hotel kitchen staff prepared another delicious and satisfying meal. One of the leaders Chris Fitzgerald shared a small devotion to prepare us for the week of serving. This devotion reminded us that we are holy despite our constant sins and that we should view ourselves the way God views us.
We are SO excited to meet the kids tomorrow at both Roblealto and Finca San Juan! The teams are ready to work hard and play hard. You can view our group photo album that we created on Flickr here and enjoy this video that Mackenzie Wagner made that recaps our day from today!