The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

BUILDING HOPE WITH THE POOR OF COSTA RICA

Ever since returning from our fruitful 2014 work trip to the Dominican Republic, members have eagerly inquired into our next Habitat for Humanity work trip.  We now have a date and a destination.  All we need is up to 15 hearty work trippers.

  • First, better than anything I’ll write here about the trip, go to our FCC web page and click on “Get Involved.” Under “Mission and Outreach”, scroll down to “Hands-on Volunteering” where you’ll find a lovely 24 page Power Point presentation on our Habitat/Costa Rica destination. Plus, you’ll find a URL, a 7 minute interview with a family we worked with in 2014, showing the deeply touching blessing of doing a trip.
  • As of now, our travel dates are Sat., Jan 9 to Sun., Jan. 17, 2016.  This might shift a day or so, depending on the availability of inexpensive flights. (We are always cost conscious.) Our week of work happens in between.
  • Our group will number up to 15, with FCC members having first priority at securing a spot on the Costa Rica trip.  An $800 deposit holds your place.
  • You need not be a body builder, a skilled laborer, or a construction worker to go, just in good health.  We all work at our own pace and support one another.  The work is important because it bonds us with our hosts. But productivity is not the only or even top priority. The top priority is spiritually sharing our varied gifts as God’s beloved children among different people.
  • We fly into and out of San Jose, C.R., pausing to orient ourselves with Habitat as we arrive, and to catch our breath and pause before we depart.
  • We’ll work at the Habitat affiliate in Guanacaste, next to Nicaragua on the Pacific Ocean side.  The views are gorgeous, but the poverty is crushing.
  • In this region, the poor live in huts of wood, palm trees or discarded stuff, which are roofed with rusty corrugated tin sheets. In many cases, two families live in one small house. And it’s not uncommon to find grand-parents, parents and children living in the same room and sharing beds. Dirt floors and unvented cooking spaces make health hazards for families.
  • We will stay in a modest local hotel with clean rooms and hot showers. Simple, tasty (and safe!) meals are served to us as a group.  Of course, we’ll learn about the history, politics and economy of the people, as we go.
  • We begin each day with short devotions at the work site.  We usually work in subgroups of 3 to 4.  Box lunches arrive from the hotel.  We pick up the work in the afternoon and return “home” for dinner.  After cleaning up and dinner, we go for walks and end with group evening devotions.  This is our chance to process our day and live the experience as spiritual pilgrimage.
  • I anticipate a trip cost in the $1,700 range. Most of that is airfare. Each participant pays his own way (including myself). All donations from FCC and every donor—to the last penny!—go toward building simple homes for the working poor, who will pay for these sturdy homes. The homes resist hurricanes using a modular construction we flirted with in the Dom. Repub.
  • I’ve led 11 such trips resulting in 79 new homes now occupied by families. As owners pay for their new homes, the funds build more homes through Habitat.  With this winning formula, Habitat has built over a million homes.
  • I always promise participants that your life will never be the same, having gone. No one has ever disputed my claim. I keep returning because God’s reign with us has gotten in my blood this way. I can do no other.  It is a joy.

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