Little time and a lack of the right words make it difficult to share in a post what my first full day in this beautiful country was like for me, so a quick recap will have to suffice for now.
I slept well after being moved to a new room with my own bed. I had been a bit uncomfortable at the thought of having to sleep with a stranger in the same bed. The hostel is nice as far as hostels go I guess, but it is a hostel.
All the clowns met for breakfast which in itself was quite funny. I took the liberty to strike up conversation with Patch while we both waited at the counter for our meals. I´m not sure what I expected as my only real frame of reference was the movie version Patch, but I was amazed nonetheless. A very tall, relatively thin man with long blue streaked gray hair pulled into a long tail. He commands the room by his meer presence and draws in one´s attention. Our conversation was brief, it started with “hello, where are you from” which led directly into a glimpse of what Patch is all about, his strong activist side. I was a bit taken aback by his strong opinions of America, which he readily shares, not in a bad way, just as a matter of course. I guess I was expecting a joke and a laugh, so I was not sure how to respond, but I don´t think a response was needed. Despite it all, I instantly liked the man.
The rest of the day I will very briefly describe for it would take pages to express otherwise. We visited La Carpio Barrio. The poorest community in Costa Rica with over 35, 000 residents mostly refugees from Nicaragua. Theses refugees came over during seventies and now are into 2nd and 3rd generations. Let me just say that it was definitely poor as poor as one can imagine. Conditions that no human being should have to live in. But, we brought lots of love and laughter. We got lots of hugs and made lots of people happy! I never knew how much a smile and a hug, and a silly costume, could make such a difference in a person´s life if only for a moment. I can not describe it, and as I sit here writing this, I am crying. Trying to talk about it now, I feel in my heart so much emotion. While you are in it, you tend to put aside any deep emotion so you can share the best of yourself and your love, and only now I realize how deeply touched I have been. Wow. More on this later.
Our journey in the Barriw was led by Beth, a beutiful, most compassionate woman that heads up the Costa Rican Humanitarian Fund. This agency does so much for the people of the Barrio. It´s just amazing.
We had lunch at a day care that was set up by Beth´s organization. The women cooked for us, and later they and some of the children put on a play for us about the exodus from poverty in Nicaragua into Costa Rica, which ironically is still very poor but better than what they had.
Later in the afternoon we had our first workshop, The Red Badge of Courage – The Clown and the Nose. More on this later for you clowns out there.
We had dinner at a wonderful restaurant near the hostel. Yummy. Some of us walked to a small grocery store, and it was relatively early bed for me.
Oh, I need to go. Time for breakfast.