|It takes about 2 hours (1 hour on a main road and 1 hour on a dirt |
road) to drive from Pablo's house in Florencia to our new house
|Our first trip on the bumpy dirt road to Coopevega. It is about|
17 miles and takes an hour to drive. We average about 15-20 mph.
(Faster if a tico is driving!!!)
|Gabriel slept the whole way there and the whole way back.|
He seems to like the bumps (must remind him of his time
in utero in the Philippines! See the video below!
|Arriving in Coopevega we stopped at the only gas station.|
It has been a little over 3 weeks since we moved to Coopevega. The first time we visited Coopevega we looked at three houses. We were driving down the road with Maritza (a friend of Pablo’s) and she saw a man she knows in town. She thought he might have a house for rent and she asked about it. He said yes and we followed him to the house. As soon as we pulled up I had such a peaceful feeling about the house and the area. We drove through a little gate that led to three houses on a nice size plot of land. My first reaction was, “It’s so cute. It looks just like a Little House on the Prairie.” It's made mostly of wood and looks like a cabin.
|The house has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, a living room and|
kitchen. It is about 400 square feet.
|This is the kitchen before moving in.|
|The bathroom has a shower and toilet (no sink).|
The funny looking blue shower head
heats up the water (there is no
hot water anywhere else in the house).
|The living room before moving in. All the walls are made |
of hardwood. The base of the house is concrete blocks.
All of the floors are tile.
|The girls bedroom with a makeshift desk|
and bed frame for a full size bed.
We then walked the property and saw that there is a set of swings, a small river with a fishing bridge and a large gazebo that we share with our neighbors. There are also fruit trees and lots of bugs!
|Maritza looking at the gazebo.|
|Can you see the swings?|
|There is a trail that leads down to the bridge.|
|Donovan and Gabriel on the bridge.|
We went back to Pablo’s house in Florencia and showed the girls all the pictures we took of the houses we saw. They also were excited about this “Little House.” As we were looking at pictures the owner called and said that the house was no longer available because a person who had looked at it before us wanted it. We were disappointed and yet trusted in God’s plan. Later in the evening Pablo came to us with exciting news. “I prayed for you that God would give you this house if it was His plan. The owner just called and said the other person changed their mind and you can have the house!” Pablo was almost as excited as we were.
|In Maritza's back yard before eating lunch|
with her during our first visit to Coopevaga.
It was quite a surprise to us that finding a house was so easy. After we had been searching for a car for over 3 weeks and having no luck we didn’t expect to find a house so quickly. Just 5 days after finding the house we also found a car. Buying a car in Costa Rica is not like the U.S. Cars hold their value here much longer because there are very high import taxes which means you end up spending 2 to 4 times more for the same care here that you would find in the U.S. To bring your own car from the States would require you pay a 80-90% import tax on the value of the car! Pablo’s house is about 2 ½ hours away from San Jose (the capital city). Many cars are for sale in the larger cities and finding a car in a small town is much more difficult. We spent 3 weeks reading up on how to buy a car here (find a mechanic to check the vehicle out for you and a lawyer to look up the cars history and change the title over). We also studied how much we would expect to pay for the kind of vehicle we wanted (something that had at least 7 seats and had 4X4 capability for all the muddy roads we will be travelling on).
We were preparing to make a trip to a larger city without the kids to look at cars in person. This would be very tedious and was far away. BUT the Lord again provided for us. After hearing about a car for sale in Florencia (which we didn’t buy) Pablo stopped at a friend’s shop to see if he knew of any cars for sale. He did and we drove to the garage to look at it. It was newer than anything we had seen online, cheaper and it had 7 seats and 4X4! We took a test drive and made an offer. After an inspection several days later and meeting with the lawyer we had a new vehicle.
|Our new car and the neighbors chicken. Next door there are|
chickens, roosters, lambs and cows.
Now that we had a way to travel we were able to start shopping for items we needed for our new house. It took about 3 days of walking all over Ciudad Quesada to find the best prices and items we needed. Then it took another 3 car trips with the back of the car packed to get everything to our new home.
|Felicity and Gabriel sleeping during our last moving trip |
to our new house.
The house came with two bed frames and a small table attached to the wall in the kitchen with 4 stools (no storage space, no closets, no shelves). We met with a local man from the church who is working on building some shelves in the kitchen and bedroom for us and some tables and benches for the living room. Since there are only two bedrooms we asked him to make a futon for the living room which will serve as the bed for two of the girls at night. It took almost 3 weeks to get the first shelves and it will take another 3-5 weeks to get the rest of the items.
|The only "closet" is shared by the whole family.|
Until all the furniture is ready we are creatively finding places to stack and organize our things (oh how the Walmart down the street keeps coming to my mind J). But like many things here, it takes longer and we must learn to be patient.
|Our first piece of furniture completed|
was our pantry/dish cabinet.
We are so grateful for all the people who have helped us along the way to get our house ready. Remember I mentioned Maritza (the lady who found our house for us)? She and her husband also own the local gas station and hardware store. So if we need anything like rope to hang our clothes, light bulbs, trash cans, etc. we can find them at her store. She has been so welcoming to our family and really a blessing to all of us! She offered to transport our refrigerator, stove and washing machine from Quesada for us on her truck so we didn’t have to hire transportation for these larger items.
|We have a mini oven and mini fridge.|
She doesn’t speak English (like many people here) so we are being challenged to learn Spanish (our main task right now).
|Enjoying his hammock he brought from the Philippines.|
|We were able to buy 2 swing hammocks for the girls.|
|The laundry area is located next to the house and behind where|
we park the car.
|Felicity loves her new apron, mop and broom set.|
She and Grace help mom to clean!
|The view behind the house is often like this :) I can hear them|
chomping on grass and bushes from our bedroom.
We are currently trying to adjust to this new place, settle in and learn the language. We haven't had a lot of mission opportunities yet. There are 13 pueblos (chapels located in rural towns surrounding Coopevega) which we will be visiting with Fr. Julio and the three Carmelite Sisters. Fr. Julio spends about half the week here in Coopevega and the other in Santa Rosa (about 1 hour away). Santa Rosa is the main church and Coopevega is like a small hub. Fr. Alvaro is the main Pastor of Santa Rosa and he is involved in leading us in our mission under the direct supervision of the Bishop. The sisters have a house in Coopevega and help Fr. Julio visit pueblos and teach catechism classes, lead prayers groups, etc. So far we have visited one chapel and participated in the church fundraiser to build the new church kitchen.
|The church kitchen under construction.|
|Churches here are open air like the Philippines.|
|Our Parish, Our Lady of the Angels, Coopevega.|
Last Sunday Donovan and Catherine participated in the church fundraiser bicycle race. We had just picked up two bicycles for the girls to have here to ride and Donovan thought it would be fun to take Catherine on the 20 kilometer trek. She was all up for it, but I was a little apprehensive that it would be too far for her (and Donovan).
|Trying out the new bikes for the first time. Pablo helped us find|
a man who builds bikes out of bike parts
(much cheaper than buying a new bike).
|Donovan and Catherine working hard on the|
trail during the church fundraiser.
Catherine ended up getting very tired and they stopped to rest a while. After resting and catching a ride on a jeep they were almost back to the church were the race began. They decided to ride to the finish line and got back on the bikes. They rounded the last curve and headed down a hill towards the finish line. Catherine was behind Donovan as he began to pick up speed. He saw ahead of him several dips in the dirt road. His first instinct was to slow down to avoid hitting them too fast. He was tired from the previous riding and grabbed the front brake instead of the back break. BIG mistake! His back tire shot into the air and flipped over with Donovan landing on top of the bike. Poor Catherine witnessed the whole thing and was very shaken up. Donovan landed on his right shoulder with the brunt of the fall and was in terrible pain.
Three bicyclers stop to check on him and the jeep came by to pick him up. At this point he thought that he had broken his shoulder because it hurt so badly. Back at the church he was taken into the ambulance and they put a splint on his forearm (doing nothing for the shoulder). I didn’t know anything had happened and just arrived at the church with the rest of the kids. Catherine ran up to the car ghost white and tells me, “Daddy’s in the ambulance, he thinks he broke his shoulder.” Donovan had great difficulty sitting up so he laid on the stretcher. I followed the ambulance with the kids in our car. They didn’t strap him down and preceded to take him for 45 minutes on the bumpy dirt road that leads out of Coopevega. As you can imagine he felt EVERY bump. Half way through the ride they stopped to switch ambulances. They couldn't fit Donovan’s stretcher so he had to get off his and get on the other one. We drove to the closest town with a hospital (more like a clinic). They didn’t have an x-ray machine so they gave him some pain meds and antibiotics and sent us to another town for the larger hospital in Ciudad Quesada (near Pablo and his family). We had to wait for another ambulance which he again had to get into for the ride to Quesada (and again they didn’t strap him down). OUCH!
|You can see the clavicle is sticking up |
above the shoulder bone.
After several hours of waiting for an x-ray and someone to read it a man who spoke some English came in and said, “Good news, it’s not broken. We are going to clean up your wounds and you can go.” Donovan also had a large spot on his leg swelling up where he must have hit the bike or a rock.
|The bump swelled up like a volcano on his leg!|
Pablo came to the hospital to help us translate and give us support. Donovan knew that the bones were clearly out of place and asked if they were going to fix it. He was taken to orthopedic doctor and was told that the muscles should pull the bones back into place on their own in about 3 weeks with a sling. They made a sling out of gauze and sent him on his way.
|Donovan made some adjustments to his|
|The next day we were able to buy a real sling.|
Basically the tendons that hold his clavicle to the shoulder bone tore apart and need to grow back together. He has to be very careful not to move his shoulder to help with healing, not to mention its very painful right now.
Please keep Donovan's healing in your prayers. We are thinking of you all and praying for you too!