While in Costa Rica this year, we accomplished a Yobel first: leading a youth group from Colorado on an Exposure Trip. A trip of 21 people. Perhaps our largest team to date. How was it? CHAOS. MADNESS. WORTH IT.
Although Yobel is not a typical youth host, nor a typical mission organization, this trip was invaluable for all people involved.
The youth were given two tasks to complete during their 8 days in Costa Rica: Serve the Los Guido community through the use of concrete and paint, and facilitate a design training with 15 women who only speak Spanish. On paper, this may seem a lofty goal, but let me be the first to say that these teens gave their heart and soul (and a lot of sweat) to this community. Not only did we have an amazing opportunity to serve this neighborhood outside of San Jose, we also were able to celebrate with them as the World Cup fans looked on after this underdog, Cinderella team from Costa Rica continued to score goals and win games. It was most definitely a cultural experience.
During our time we broke into teams. Most of the men (13 in total) spent their mornings remodeling a home for a women recently confined to a wheelchair. They created a ramp between her and her daughter's homes, they began the remodel of the bathroom to fit her new wheels, and used translators to learn how Don Victor used his imagination to make up for what he lacked in material goods. Don Victor taught the group about using what you have, rather than depending on gaining what you don't. Instead of using a level, he fills a clear tube with water and moves the ends up and down until the surface stops the water from moving. Brilliant. While the men were pouring sweat into this home, the other two groups painted the room in which Dona Isabel holds her ministry meetings, and painted canvases to encourage the women Dona Isabel serves. The tangible work that was to be completed gave our team a purpose with an end in sight. It allowed us to feel as though we were adding value and leaving an impact.
In the afternoons we split again, into two groups, one to train 15 women in design and quality control practices, and one to hold a Vacation Bible School for the children of these women. During this time, we laughed a lot, encouragement abounded, and learning was achieved on both sides.
15 women received our design training, created pillows, color wheels, and pattern pallets to aid their hope to enter and succeed in an export market. We collaborated to decide what will sell where, what questions to ask, what details to consider, to best succeed in the globalized marketplace.