2018 Nosara, Costa Rica Mission Trip
Saturday, February 24 – Monday, March 5, 2018
Follow the Mission Trip Blog: https://costaricamissiontrip2018.wordpress.com
The Costa Rica Mission Trip is less than a month away. As we prepare for our Mission Trip, two families Jeffry & Katia and Berta & Gerson, have been selected to receive the Mercy Home Ministries houses or “Casas Misericordias” that we will build. Please keep these families, the MHM staff, and the Mission Team in prayer in these upcoming days.
Anticipated Work Schedule
Saturday, 2/24 – Fly to Liberia, CR (arriving by early afternoon), drive 2 ½ hours to Nosara
Sunday, 2/25 – Attend Worship, Visit previous recipients of houses, Free time on beach
Monday – Friday, 2/26 – 3/2 – Work days, with dedication and celebration of houses on Friday
Saturday – Sunday, 3/3 – 3/4 – Rest and Relaxation
Monday – Drive to Liberia arriving late morning, and return to U.S.
We anticipate the participants will come through two connections. Rev. Katelyn Macrae will recruit members and friends from Richmond Congregational UCC in Richmond, Vermont. Rev. Neal Sadler will recruit friends and pastors mostly from Northeast Ohio. Our desired number of participants is 16-18. Those participants under the age of 18 should be accompanied by parent or responsible guardian. Participants come open to experiencing other cultures, giving freely of their time, cooperating with fellow workers, and sharing the love of God. Spanish is helpful, but not needed. Likewise, construction experience and skills, though helpful, are not needed.
Type of Work
We hope to build two simple houses for the poorest of the poor. The basic house is about 400 square ft, created by joining 25 4’ x 8’ panels together. Some houses may be larger. The construction is simple. All can join in and help. The panels may be plain, have cutouts for windows or doors, or modified for corners. The panels may be constructed at the hotel or another site that Maximo has selected. Manuel, our foreman, directs us and oversees our work. The cement floor or footings are prepared before our arrival. With an occasional exception, only local workers are allowed on roof. The electricity for the houses is completed by Bonbom. Plumbing is usually not included for houses in Nosara. Due to the heat, most families have kitchens and bathrooms outdoors.
We build not only houses but also relationships – relationships with the host church and mission hosts, with our partner family, with the neighborhood and community, and with each other. For a good way to understand what happens on the trip, go to YouTube and put ‘Medina UCC Costa Rica Mission Trips’ in the search bar. You will find a couple videos from past trips.
We partner with Mercy Homes Ministry, which is directed by Maximo Cisneros. Maximo arranges our partnership with a local church and local family. The local church chooses the family and Maximo researches the family and the building site. They arrange for the preparation of the building site and the delivery of all materials. They also provide all the needed tools and supplies. Their experience and conscientious and thorough efforts ensure the completion of the houses by the end of the work week. In addition to Maximo, Manuel, and Bonbom, our hosts will include Maximo’s wife, Rebecca, our driver and ‘mother’, Mauricio, and probably Pastor Carlos. All of our hosts, with the exception of Bonbom and Pastor Carlos, speak English.
Partner families are chosen from those who have applied for houses. Families are interviewed by Maximo and a deacon from the local church. Recipient families are usually the families with the greatest need, those living in the worst housing with the least likelihood of being able to afford better housing on their own. The partner families generally work along with us, though in some cases their jobs prevent them from taking the time off. The partner families are gifted the house at the end of the week. However, they must take apart their existing house before we arrive with faith that we will build them a new one. Other family members, neighbors, past recipients of houses, and members of our partner churches may also work alongside of us.
We present each partner family with a Spanish Bible and a couple items for their house as a friendship gift. Often, these gifts come from our home communities (Vermont and Ohio).
The Community of Nosara
Nosara is the main town of the area, but Nosara also describes a larger community of villages, neighborhoods and beaches along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica on the Nicoya Peninsula. Nosara is a tourist destination known for its yoga and surfing. The beaches are beautiful. An ex-pat community of perhaps 250 Americans, Canadians, and other nationalities live with the native Costa Ricans. Most ex-pats live near the tourist center on Playa Guiones. Costa Ricans refer to themselves as “Ticos.” There is much poverty in the area, mostly hidden away from the tourist areas. Tourism is more low-key and informal with no large fancy resorts or high rise buildings. The first 200 meters away from the beach is a biological preserve. The streets are dirt with large ruts and the dust can be extensive during the dry season. Nosara is hot, with daytime highs in the low to mid 90’s.
We will be staying at Teak Pacific Hotel on Playa Pelada. See www.teakpacifichotel.com for preview. The hotel is off the beaten path, about a ten minute walk to the beach at Playa Pelada or the more deserted beach on North Playa Pelada. Whereas Playa Guiones tends to be more of the tourist beach, Playa Pelada tends to draw more local Ticos. The hotel rooms are one-bedroom apartments with kitchen and bathroom. We anticipate sleeping 4 in each apartment, 2 in the bedroom and 2 in the living room. Teak Pacific has a lovely swimming pool and ‘rancho,’ or gathering area. Teak Pacific was owned by members of Medina UCC, but is currently being sold.
Food and Water
Breakfast and lunch will most likely be served at the hotel through arrangements of the hotel. Dinners will most likely be at area restaurants.
Water in Costa Rica is potable. It is safe to drink from the tap. However, some people use caution and drink only bottled water. Coolers of water will always be at the work sites.
Our good friend and driver, Mauricio will pick us up at the airport with his bus and shuttle us back and forth to the work site, meals and other places. He will return us to the airport. Mauricio takes very good care of us.
Lightweight work clothes with sturdy shoes. Again, temperatures will probably be in the mid 90’s every day. Everything is casual in Nicaragua, even the nice restaurants. A list of Items to Bring will be provided.
R & R
There will be 2 days on Saturday and Sunday for rest and relaxation at the end of the work week. One may simply enjoy the beach or swimming pool, or else take advantage of the many things to do in the Nosara area including a great zipline, yoga classes, surf lessons, horseback riding, nature walks, and long boards on the Nosara River. If we are lucky, there may be an ‘arriba’ of the Ridley turtles on the Ostional Beach where thousands of turtles come ashore to lay eggs.
Everyone must have an up-to-date passport with at least 6 months before expiration.
Up to date tetanus/diphtheria is required. Some travel sites also recommend Hepatitus A vaccine, malaria pills (chloroquine; this part of Costa Rica does not have malaria) and Typhoid. Consult with your physician or the local Health Department.
Medical and Travel Insurance is required and should be purchased with plane tickets.
Safety and Medical Care
There are well-trained doctors in Nosara. The nearest hospital, which is in the city of Nicoya, is more than an hour away and the care there is not American quality. The capital city of San Jose, 6 hours by car or ½ hour by the daily plane, has excellent hospitals and medical care. Mauricio will have first aid kit. There may be persons with nursing or medical experience joining us on the trip.
In general, there is little crime against persons in Costa Rica, other than petty thievery, which is common when there is an opportunity. Keep valuables close at hand at all times.
Persons will be coming from different parts of the county. We will try to fly in as few groups as possible. Airline reservations will be made after the group is fairly well established, probably late summer or early fall. If group fares are less expensive, we will try to book group fares. Each participant is responsible for checked baggage fees of $25 each way. If participants pack light, they should be able to get all clothing in a carry-on and avoid the checked baggage fee.
The cost for each house is $6000. For 2 houses, we will need to raise $12,000. For 16 persons, this is an average of $750 per person. This amount includes all materials, contracted labor, and an honorarium for our Mission Hosts. In the past, we have been able to raise this money through church mission budgets and through the generous gifts of friends and family. On this trip, we do not have church mission budgets to support us on our trip. We will need to raise this full amount ourselves. Raising these funds will be very much a faith endeavor. Please consider approaching your local church, friends and family to assist us on our trip. We have found that many persons are eager to give and help out. They can see the results of their giving very clearly – a happy family moving into a new house.
Individual Costs for the Mission Team
Besides the construction cost for the house, there are 3 components to the cost for each team member
- Airfare and Travel Insurance to Liberia – $450 – 750?? Airfares have varied widely over the last few years, from $450 – $750, usually between $600-700. We will seek group airfares if they are less expensive. When airfares drop, it is important to move quickly to secure the best fares. Most airlines now include the approx. $30 exit tax in the cost of the plane ticket.
- Land Costs – $750 This amount covers all expenses from arrival on Saturday through breakfast through the following Saturday – lodging, food, transportation, snacks, celebration dinner. The only money needed by participants during the work week is for souvenirs, incidentals, gelato, and drinks other than water (beer, wine and soft drinks).
- R & R – $75-200 During the R & R time on Saturday and Sunday, participants are responsible for their own lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday as well as lunch at the airport on Monday. They also pay the cost of their own R & R activities such as ziplining or yoga classes or surfing lessons. Depending on interests, plan on budgeting $75 – 200 for this time.
- Total Costs for the trip (less construction costs) — $1300 – 1700 depending on airfares and R&R activities
Application Form and Medical Release
Please complete the Medical Release Form and give it to either Katelyn Macrae or Neal Sadler to reserve your place on the trip. Emergency Numbers and other vital information will be sent out before the trip.
- Now through June – initial Meetings
- August 31st – Completed Application/Medical Release Form should be turned in
- September – Airfare purchased; Airfare due for each participant
- September – October – Second meeting of group
- Now through January 31st – raising money for construction costs
- January 31st — $750 land payment due
- January – February – last meeting of group
All checks should be made out to Richmond Congregational Church. The expenses of the trip (except for the R&R) may be included on Schedule A for those who itemize deductions for Federal Taxes
Questions or Interested?
If you have questions or are interested in going, please contact Neal Sadler (email@example.com; 330-952-0912 – home; 630-408-4457 – cell) or Katelyn Macrae (firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-355-1269 – mobile, 802-434-2053 – church).