By Allison Kline, student at Missouri State University
My mission awareness trip to Costa Rica was one of the most unique experiences of my life. I got the chance to practice my Spanish and meet my sponsored child, Allison.
Before my trip to Costa Rica, I had never left the United States, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I have studied Spanish in school for the past six years, but I had never spoken it outside the classroom. But, on my first day in Costa Rica, that changed.
My mom, who works in communications for CFCA, was taking pictures of families at the La Estrella subproject, and she needed to tell them that the pictures she was taking were for CFCA. She asked me to tell the parents what the pictures were for, using my Spanish. I was really nervous, but surprisingly, they could understand me, and they seemed happy that I communicated with them in their own language.
The highlight of my trip was the day that the sponsors and sponsored children got to spend together. We spent the whole day at a beautiful park area playing games and getting to know the kids. Allison, who is 7, really enjoyed jumping on the trampoline that was set up. She would have spent the whole day jumping if she could.
I taught her how to use my digital camera and showed her how to look at the pictures she’d taken. She caught on quickly, and she took a bunch of pictures of the children and their sponsors playing and having a good time. My mom and I really enjoyed spending the day with Allison. She was quiet, but the whole day she had a big smile on her face.
The next day, my mom and I went with three social promoters and a translator to visit Allisonís house. When we got to their neighborhood, we had to climb up a muddy hill that the promoters told us was almost impossible to climb during the rainy season. We could imagine that: we were having problems climbing it in the dry weather.
Allisonís house was made of tin and had cardboard walls. Seeing the house was sad, but it made me happy when we walked inside and saw Allison and her older brother and sister coloring with the coloring books and colored pencils we brought them. Allison’s mom showed us Allisonís school notebooks filled with her schoolwork, and we got to see some of the food benefits and the bunk beds that the family received from CFCA.
Going to Costa Rica was one of the best experiences of my life, and I especially enjoyed getting to know Allison and her family. A mission awareness trip is a really eye-opening experience, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to participate in one.