Tag: hope

Rainy Season in Costa Rica

Rainy season in Costa Rica is a beautiful and magical time of the year. The rain allows the trees to turn bright green and the flowers to bloom. It makes the ground wet so there isn’t dust and dirt flying when the wind blows. 

It is the cheaper season because it does rain all the time. Tourist come and enjoy the relaxing and peaceful rainy season. They go on horseback riding tours and ATV tours. The tourist swim in the ocean and ride jet skis.

There is a dark side 

The rainy season has a dark and horrific side.  It brings RAIN! Torrential downpours and flash flooding. The tree roots are so saturated in water that they begin to fall with the heavy winds. The power and internet go out and access to food can be limited if the rivers are blocking the roads. 

Schools and businesses do not open because it is dangerous to drive or be out in the heavy rains. If a person isn’t prepared with food and supplies it could be a rough time for them as the rains can last for days. The rivers and flooding can take time to lower. 

This affects those in poverty

Guanacaste is one of the poorest provinces in Costa Rica. Many families are struggling to make ends meet. They are fighting to put food on the table for their children. They live in houses that I wouldn’t even call a house. I would call them shacks. Literally shacks. The wooden walls have holes you can see right through. They have tin roofs with no insulation. Some places only have bars for windows. 

When the rains come, people who live here and are more wealthy can afford to buy sandbags and take preventative measures to ensure flooding doesn’t happen. They have houses that are on higher grounds or have a foundation that elevates their houses.

More than half of the locals who live in this region, don’t have the financial means to take these precautions. 

So, what happens? 

Every year for 2-3 weeks, they are taken away from their homes with nothing. The locals lose EVERYTHING, clothes, beds, bathroom supplies, and so much more. They have to evacuate their homes. Some do not have anywhere to go. They sleep in a hammock or in the street. 

They need to rely on non-profit organizations such as CEPIA and the local church. 

Every year the families need to rebuild their lives. They need to replace everything that was lost. Beds, chairs, cooking supplies, toilet paper, deodorant, diapers, and much much more. 

It is devastating. The families are reliant on donations from amazing and loving people from our community. 

I have helped every year in one way or another.

The first year I was here, Hurrican Nate hit us hard. The worst rainy season I have seen. People couldn’t leave their houses due to the flooding of the rivers for a week. Beach Community Church provided locals with food and toilet paper to help them survive. I was able to participate and help carry the supplies to those in need.

Last year, I donated some rice and beans to locals in need. Since I don’t make much money either it was all I could do. 

This year, my friend and neighbor Isa is housing a family of 5 from CEPIA in her spare bedroom and living room. I provided clothes and a sofa bed for them to use. I gave them access to my washing machine so they could wash their clothes. I loaned Isa around $40 to help buy food for the family. The 3 little girls have been using my toys and a stuffed animal to help them feel at home. We took turns painting each other’s nails to keep busy.

This morning, they told us they needed diapers for the 2-year-old girl. So, I went to the super and bought some diapers and deodorant for the mother. 

I also started a GoFundMe to help raise money for the locals and their families. There is only so much we can do, but donations of any size help. 

I will use the money to support the family Isa is housing as well as other families in the CEPIA organization and the Beach Community Church. 

The rainy season is not easy.

The rainy season is not easy for the locals here. It is something they fear and stress about this time of year because they know they will lose their homes.

Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are. This morning Isa and I were reminded just how lucky we are. One of the little girls asked Isa, “Are you a millionaire?” Isa started crying because it looks like she is to them. Isa doesn’t have much and she struggles to provide for herself, but the little girl thinks she was a millionaire based on her house and things. 

This family and the locals here in Costa Rican always remind me to be grateful and loving towards everything I have whether big or small. I am lucky and so are you. It is a tough life for others out there. 

Be Grateful and allow yourself to donate or help those around you in any way you can. 

Guest Post: Kindness

By: Naomi

When I was little, my mum used to give away boxes of biscuits and chocolates that we had been given for Christmas to people that were less fortunate than us. I never understood why, they were gifts for us.

I understand now.

I understand now how important it is to be kind. To give even the smallest of gifts to people. We didn’t need more biscuits, more chocolates… we had all we needed, in fact probably more than we needed. But those people had nothing, or at least very little. The giving of sweet treats wasn’t even about the physical act of giving, it was my mum’s way of saying ‘you are worthy of kindness’, the chocolates and biscuits were just the tip of the iceberg compared to what my parents did for some of those people…

A little bit of background may be good here… when I was growing up, we lived in quite a rough neighbourhood. My parents were (and still are) part of a local church and for a long time, we lived within the church building. It wasn’t your typical ‘church’ – people came to worship, of course, but it was also a community centre with groups and meeting rooms. A lot happened in that building, from a playgroup to an over 60’s keep fit class – and everything in between.

But, back to kindness. My parents helped a lot of people but the one that will always stand out was Bill. Bill was an alcoholic from Scotland, out of the Navy and onto some pretty rough streets in my hometown. He’d turn up, a night here and a night there and my mum would bathe him and dress him in some of my dad’s clothes. She’d give him a hot meal and a bed for the night and then he would be off again, to return a week, a month later…

One night, my mum gave him an ultimatum. My brother and I had grown to know Bill and we knew that he would never do us harm – but nevertheless, we were still two pretty young kids and it was at the time my dad was going away for a week here or there on volunteer work. She told him he could stay and get help, or he had to go.

He stayed.

We had a few happy years with Bill. He slept in a room in the church for a little while and would spend most of his days in our flat within the building. My parents fed him, they got him a new wardrobe, got him signed up for the benefits he was entitled to and in the end found him a bedsit where he would sit at the bay window and watch the birds. We visited him still a few days a week, my dad took him to do his shopping and my mum washed his clothes and had him back to the flat for lunch or dinner or just some company… He became another grandpa.

When he died, we felt as if we had lost a family member. An hour before he passed he asked my dad if I could come to him in the hospice which I did and I laid next to him as he stroked my hair and slipped away.

We loved him. What my parents did could be looked at as kindness, but if you said that to them, they would just say they were doing the only thing they knew. It wasn’t out of some religious zeal, they aren’t like that at all, if was just an outstretched hand, a voice in the darkness saying ’It’s ok, we’ve got you’

And I have grown up not knowing any different. The need to provide for others, to give others what they need can be overwhelming at times. It doesn’t even need to be a physical thing (although present buying is one of my favourite things), it can be just listening to someone, hearing them without judging them, letting them know ’It’s ok, I’ve got you… ‘

Because isn’t that what we all need? To know that even in the darkest times, even when we feel like there is no hope, no possible way out or like the sun will never shine again… don’t we just need no-strings-attached, good, honest kindness?

I think we all do.

Written by Naomi – meditativeowl.wordpress.com