Thursday, December 27, 2007

On December 21st, the Voz Que Clama Mission held their Cabecar Indigenous Christmas Party in the Chirripo mountain town of Quetzal, Costa Rica. I had never made the difficult drive to the Chirripo Mountains before. The almost 3 hour drive from Tuis on the rugged volcanic tortured terrain was steep and remote, it appeared barely populated except for large patches of deforestation.

We were blessed to have 12 house guests who were able to attend with us. The boys helped Phil pack our big flatbed truck with donations of clothing and Christmas gifts for the children and they left our house at 6am to go to the Mission in Tuis de Turrialba and continue to load our truck with all of the donated items. It was a beautiful sunny, hot day for the event.

Two students from EARTH University joined us and they brought a van load of donations from the students. How wonderful that so many participated.

My guests helped peel onions and chop veggies while I prepared the rice and beans for our contribution to the feast, the largest pot of vegetarian Spanish Rice I had ever made. It was a joint effort starting at 5:30am to make a warm and nutritious meal hoping it would still be warm by the time it was served. In the end not a spec of food was left over, and the very hungry Indigenous did not notice that their food was no longer hot and the soda was warm. When it was time to eat the Chief blew his whistle and the children lined up first in one very long, quiet, straight line with no pushing. Amazing!

The vehicles leaving the Mission were burdened with gifts, people and food. A local cattle truck was packed with volunteers from the Mission’s town of Tuis. Others drove their vehicles packed with people and food, a Hyundai Gallopher pulled a trailer loaded with sacks of surprises as we traveled in caravan style to Quetzal. The volume of people, vehicles, their overloaded capacity, and the high energy was a sight to behold. Piled atop our big truck I noticed the wheelchairs that belonged to the handicapped residents of the Mission, no one was left behind. It was a glorious event for all to enjoy. The journey was difficult, steep, vertical, and the suspension bridges were swaying over their very long span. One vehicle at a time, each vehicle allowed the previous to reach the other side before the next vehicle progressed very slowly onto the rickety well worn boards. We crossed water with no bridge and picked our way around and over water covered boulders and very deep spots.

The little children from the reservation were so beautiful. They came dressed in their finest clothing, so dirty from the long journey that my friend Rande commented as we looked at an adorable little girl, that she wanted to take her home and…..….wash her. It was easy to tell which Indigenous came from the surrounding area and who came from high up on the reservation by how clean they were. Their muddy rubber boots told the story.

Santa also attended to the delight of the children and he brought special gifts with him, toys, dolls, trucks, and gifts of warmth. There were two large Santa piƱatas filled with candy and the children took turns hitting them until they released their sweet treats.

We learned that our taste in clothing and theirs is very different in some instances. We had lots of good laughter as we watch an Indigenous man so proud in his woman’s tunic top. It was flashy and he loved it. There was something for everyone.

We had far more people than we planned on. I think that no one could have done a better job of handling, so many than Daniel, Hector and staff as they worked with the Chief of the Tribe. They saw to it that everyone got something and had a good time. Building relationships within the Indigenous tribes is most important. It takes so many years, you don’t want anyone to feel hurt or left out. I think that having the items of used clothing made a big difference. They need clothing and items of warmth, but they were not greedy. In fact it was as if they were afraid to pick out or touch the clothing, and yet we know they have little or none. We had to encourage them to take items. Not that they understood a word that we were saying. Remember, most do not speak Spanish, they speak Cabecar.

I have started to plan for next year’s event already. You can participate from wherever you are. We always need gifts of clothing, and all of the other items that are on the Wish List. When you come to visit, please bring us a suitcase filled with donations. Your friends and co-workers will gladly clean out their closets and give you the donations. Your local school will help with school supplies. Children love to help other needy children and you would have a hard time to find children more needy, with no resources, no other possibilities other than you. If you would like to send a tax-deductible check, you can mail it to our US address and we will provide for their needs as necessary.

Voz Que Clama Mission
990 Sunset Drive
California 95448

It is very different in the US. Somebody always cares, there are agencies, churches, food pantries, food stamps, assistance, clothing banks…, here, there is nothing and for the most part, no one cares. Do you think I am wrong? Read this report, we should be informed as to the reality of our Indigenous. The Cabecar are one of the many tribes of the Americas. They routinely traversed from South America to Canada and back many years ago before there were borders.

All people deserve an opportunity to live in dignity, it has not served this world well, to ignore any particular group of people. We are all humans struggling to survive. Some are struggling far more than others just to see another sunrise. There, but for the grace of God, go I. We thank you for your kindness and generosity and look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

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