Jul 25, 2016

For the Love of Reading, and All Things Holy

I used to think that cruises were the ultimate vacation. Cruising has lost its appeal.

Those of us who "get it" know that giving is the greatest high. For God so loved the world that He gave...

I joined a great team of people to take books to schools in Costa Rica. Here are the highlights of my journey:

We did not stay at a luxury resort where the goal of the day was how drunk you can get. We stayed in a charming hotel in Alajuela, with hospitable and kind people. We saw urban landscape with shoe stores, dental clinics, sodas (cafes), auto repairs, and tiny farms, ALL IN THE SAME BLOCK!

With iron fence and razor wire on the outside of these buildings (some entwined with flowers to soften the harsh reality), the inside contains the real charm and beauty.

Costa Rica is a very Catholic country. We saw cathedrals (accidentally crashed a wedding - oops) including Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels which, like all of them, don't have padded seats or padded kneelers. Half the population of the country makes the pilgrimage to this Basilica each year, by foot, by horseback, whatever, to honor "La Negrita," the black Virgin Mary, Patron Saint of Costa Rica. Thee pilgrims walk down the aisle to the altar on their knees to unite with the agony of Jesus.

Some of the Cathedrals we visited:

 I did not get an opportunity to attend Mass, because I had to stay with the group. However, I was able to pray at each Cathedral, light a candle at some, and marvel in architecture and beauty.

The Costa Rican people were so kind, and the food - wow! Each morning, the smiling waitress would put a plate in front of you: pineapple, banana, and watermelon. I have tasted pineapple, and it never tasted like this! Fresh, fresh, fresh!

This is the view at breakfast. Please note the open air. No screens or glass. Just open air. 

 I'm pretty sure that the fresh air and fresh fruit are the fountain of youth. We saw 80-something year old people doing the merengue in the park!

The coffee was amazing. Just. Amazing.

We worked in the warehouse gathering books to take to the schools. Six schools got books; one got dental supplies.

The books were mostly Spanish, with some easy-English books.

And the best part.... sharing the books with students! 

These kids were so excited about the books! They thought we were rock stars! They asked for our autograph. They wanted to practice their English with us. They start learning English in the lower grades. They know that they will greatly improve their economic situation if they can learn English, so they are very motivated.

If you want to share your love of reading with Costa Rican children (oh, and see breath taking nature such as La Paz waterfall, Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee Plantation, and experience a home visit with locals) please consider partnering with with Give-A-Book.

If you're not able to travel, you can donate money so that others can travel. You or your organization can "adopt" a school library for $800.

This is a perfect project/mission trip for teachers, librarians, and those who love reading (to see children so excited about books!), for nature lovers (Waterfalls, nature preserves, volcanoes, oh and did I mention we saw a sloth? How often do you see a sloth?)

coffee lovers, people lovers, foodies, or those who just want to make a difference in the world, by opening up the world to children via donated books!

For more information, contact Carl Dickerson (who has run this ministry for 20+ years)

carldickerson55@gmail.com or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GiveABookToChildren/?fref=ts

Thanks and God bless you as you seek God's purpose for your life.

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