Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Journey of Godly Reminders ~ Part 2

This trip to the Chirrip√≥ Reservation included myself, Keith Avaritt, Lesa Avaritt, Rob Moore, Heather Moore, Jessica Moore, Reid Moore, and Emily Siemens.  Just sharing this journey with these wonderful people was a Godly reminder in itself of the sheer blessing of being able to call these people friends who are family.  We had some fun times with lots and lots of laughter and some tears.

We left the home of Isaias piled into the back of his little 4X4 truck and along the way picked up two more people, a woman named Gladys and her six year old daughter along with a couple of newly purchased chickens.  We all found it totally ironic that the chickens were being transported in the plastic sack bearing the name "Pipasa," the Costa Rican chicken processing company (same as Tyson for those of you in the states).  We all became a little bit closer in the back of this truck with 9 people, 8 packs, 8 backpacks, and two chickens.

Gladys is a woman that David and I had heard about.  She is a very petite woman with the most muscular arms I ever seen on any woman.  The unanimous story we keep hearing is that she is one of the strongest women on the reservation and carried 2 bags of concrete, each weighing 50kg (that is more than a 100lbs each).  She carried this the entire way from the point where we started hiking which is approximately 8-10 miles to the entry of Roca Quemada (the first community in this part of the reservation).  Talk about some phenomenal stamina and strength.  It is almost unbelievable, I mean to carry 200lbs of concrete, but if you only knew what kind of terrain she is climbing and the grade of the descent make this unfathomable.  

She and her little girl climbed into the back of the truck with us and sat quietly.  The sweet little girl with her had sad eyes; she looked tired and uncomfortable.  Lesa pulled out a little sucker and piece of bubble gum and you could see the whites of her teeth as she broke her lips for a beautiful smile, a little hesitant at first as she looked to her mom first.  This little girl had sores on her arms that looked so painful.  My first thought was that she had been beaten and burned on her arms.  They were whelped like a what you would see on a slave that had been beaten with a whip.  But, yet they also looked like something had bitten her in the middle and it had become grossly infected.

The time came for us all to pile out and start the hike in.  Our driver thought if he emptied all of us out of the truck that he might could make it further with our packs and help us out a bit further.  I was hopeful but not confident that it would happen.  The steep grade of the roads and the incredible amount of very wet mud made it impossible.  He made it about 300 feet when it was determined that would not be happening.  Deflated, but oh so thankful that he was able to take all of us and our packs this far.  

What an awesome view to be engulfed in when you are out on a stroll....well, not a stroll,
because I was sweating like some 500lb man.  I didn't know my body was capable of 
producing so much sweat.  Just keeping it real : ) 

This sweet man unloaded our packs, grabbed one of our backpacks and hiked with is for a couple hours and then turned around and hiked back to his truck.  This part of the trip is hiked on what they call a road, with steep grades that are not even legal in the states, and is red clay.  The first couple of hours were a hard climb...up, up, and up.  We passed several people and almost every one of them that stopped asked me "Where are you going...What are you doing...Who are you...Who are you going to see?"  They are all curious as to what in the world are crazy white people doing out here.  And us white people are SLOW compared to their almost run.  From where we were dropped off they can make that hike in 3.5-4 hours, our pace doubles that time.  

{Pictures never truly depict the grade of places here.  And this mud is 
wet, wet, wet...and my shoes weighed like 20lbs...I know they were!}

Gladys hiked with us for a couple hours before she went on ahead of us so that she would make it home before dark.  She told us during this time about her daughter's arms and that she had just gone into town (a 7-8 hour hike each way for her) for the second time to get medical care for her daughter. I can't recall the exact name, but there is an insect here in Costa Rica that causes severe lesions on the body and can only be treated with an injection of a certain medicine.  There is nothing you can take by mouth or any creams that you can apply that will make it go away.  And with children the lesions usually become worse and worse because they touch them.  This was the second time she had taken her for this exact thing and they would not give her the injection.  They keep telling her that isn't what she has and tells her to come back later and they will look at her again.  This is typical social medicine here.  They've given a her a cream but nothing is helping and her condition is worsening.  She had taken her this second time because she was having a hard time breathing through her nose.  The insides of her nose were swollen and red.  This mother left a doctor's office again with nothing to help her daughter.  Before she went on ahead of us we stopped and prayed that God, the greatest Physician of all, may heal her and give that precious child comfort and take away her pain.  

{Pictured Left to Right ~ Gladys, her daughter, Jessica, Lesa, Reid, Emily, 
me, Heather, and Rob}

When we see these situations that seem so helpless, and you feel like there is nothing you can do to really help them, there is.  We can advocate for them, we can show them love, make God's love present to them.  We hold the most powerful help to them.  We have God on our side.  We have Him any time of day or night.  We can call on Him at any time for anything.  And we can share Him with others.  You begin to feel so deflated when you see first hand the harsh realities of life for these people here and you wonder what in the world am I, one person going to be able to do to really help these people.  There is so much need that there is just really not a tangible place to begin.  There is only one place to start and that is showing and sharing God's love.  

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