Costa Rica Trip 2011 

Xavier Visits Iglesia de Los Angeles 

Xavier with his Tico host family 

  In Costa Rica this summer, I was lucky because my host family planned a great trip for me and I was not shy about going.  My host family took me to this great old, all white church with stone angels on top named, of course, Iglesia de Los Angeles. When we went in, the first thing I noticed was people going on their knees to a huge alter. The aisle was long and it had no carpet but that did not stop anybody. Kids that were 6 years old to 80-year old grandpas were going down this big aisle on their knees. I had never seen anything like it and I was surprised. You did not have to go on your knees so my family and I skipped that part.

Also the church was amazing inside: the roof had great tile designs and great stained glass depicting biblical stories. There was a lower part to the church and this was where people came to make wishes. There were glass cases that contained small golden body parts. One glass case contained golden legs another contained golden arms. One glass case contained organs like a golden heart, lungs and even golden eye balls. But I was confused, what were these little golden body parts doing in these glass cases?  My host mom said that people had brought the little figures to help them with their health for example if someone had heart problems they would come here and bring a little golden heart so their heart would become healthy. There were hundreds of little golden body parts it was incredible.
Then my family took me deeper into the bottom floor of the church where we got stopped by a metal fence.  Inside the fence was a boulder with a rock doll on top of it. My host grandma explained the Virgen on the boulder called La Negrita. She said a long time ago before the church was here, an indigenous girl found this doll on the boulder and took it home but the next day the girl could not find the doll so she went back to the boulder and there it was, so she took it back home.  The next day the doll was nowhere to be found but then the girl found it again at the boulder this happened five more times.  So the girl told the Priest of the village what had happened. He thought it was sacred and an angel from heaven so they built the church by the boulder and for the Virgen.
I was amazed by every inch of that church and I was disappointed there was nothing else to see of it. That part of the trip was impressive for me and a great experience that I will never forget.   I learned a lot of things on the Costa Rica trip that I won’t forget -- it was great!

Xavier Rodgriuez

 Gabriella Celebrates a Birthday -

 Costa Rican Style 

 I had such a great time with my Tico host family this summer. While I was in Costa Rica, I was lucky enough to be part of a birthday celebration. We celebrated my host grandmother’s grandson’s 12th birthday. His name is Anferny. He lives next door to my host grandmother’s house which faces a common courtyard with 4 other houses.  About 30 people attended the party. Some were relatives, some were neighbors who lived in those houses and some were friends. 

That afternoon, my fellow classmates Andres and David and I had returned home from classes at CPI, took showers and then played soccer on the concrete patio with some of the kids before the party. My host brother, Kevin, and his cousin love soccer so we played with them every chance we got. 

The women of the family prepared a large meal of ramen-like noodles and meat for everyone. It was very tasty especially for hungry bunch like us. After we dinner, we all danced to meringue, salsa and Costa Rican reggae music.

We celebrated Anferny’s birthday with a tasty cake that had vanilla frosting and peach filling in the middle. A piñata filled with candy was set up for everybody to try to knock down. We all got a bunch of Costa Rican candy. Afterwards, Anferny’s sister, Joselin, brought out a jump rope and everybody took turns jumping for the next 2 hours. When we weren't jumping, we sat around and talked until about 10:30 pm. We had had a long day so we were pretty tired. but it was a lot of fun and a great memory of my time in Costa Rica. I loved my host family and their extended family. 

Gabriella Pereira 

Photos of the party  

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