Eighteen St. Joseph’s Academy students spent June 1-8 in Costa Rica, serving the dear neighbor at the Costa Rica Mission Project (CRMP) camp in the mountains of San Isidro. Participants also spent a day working at a local church.
The travelers were accompanied by Dean of Women Erika Angarita, math faculty member Cindy Downs and Assistant Campus Minister Mary Kay Alford.
Mission trip participants enjoyed playing and dancing with the children at the CRMP daycare center; painting, cleaning and hanging sheetrock at Iglesia Evangelica Metodista Peniel de Peje church; dance lessons; prayer services; and reflection time each evening. The students visited the local farmers market and enjoyed the local culture and hospitality of the locals.
The trip ended with a day of fun, including a zipline tour in Quepos, a beach trip to Manuel Antonio and dinner at El Avion with views of the Pacific and monkeys playing in the trees.
Senior Anna Barreneche said the trip was highly meaningful. “Costa Rica made me realize to be grateful for the things I have and the people I surround myself with,” she said. “It was so much fun seeing the different culture, and it truly opened my eyes to things I hadn’t seen before. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The memories made with the people there and those I went with enabled me to gain useful experiences to help me for my future.”
Senior Parish Vercher said she especially enjoyed the sense of community she experienced. “What I loved most about serving Costa Rica was seeing how in touch the community was with the people in it,” she said. “Everyone felt acknowledged and understood, especially when entering the Church and during praise and worship. Also, everyone in the community left their doors and windows open because of no air conditioning, so it was almost like people were free to walk past and have conversations with anyone and everyone they saw. No barriers disconnected these people from one another as shown through their simple lives, and I loved seeing how that fellowship positively impacted their community.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt