Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Children Running Amuck

Our time is almost over as volunteers in Costa Rica, and we can tell.  Everything that we do has a bittersweet tinge.  We can’t help but be excited about the next step in our lives, yet it is going to be heart wrenching to say goodbye (especially to our 2nd grade class).

Last Sunday we had a pizza party at our house with our second graders-- no small feat.  It took organizing transportation to our house, 25 miles south of their hometown, countless calls from their worried little minds to our cell phone, and a whole block of cheese to pull this “little ditty” off.  But, oh did we have a good time.

Down to the last minute we really didn’t know how many of them would come or when they would show, but they were all waiting at the bus stop about an hour ahead of schedule with the energy equivalent of five Snickers Bars and a Coke.  The whole bus station was filled with a chorus of “MRS. SAVAGE” as Jenn came into sight, and it’s a wonder she remained standing as they stampeded in for the group hug.  As we hadn’t started the dough rising soon enough, Jenn took them directly to the beach to kill some time and dodge the potential torrent of threatening rain.  Without a way to contact each other, I was left tending the oven’s fire still wondering if anyone had actually made it to the party.

From ten past two until four o‘clock, the whole of the jungle was graced with the squeals of Denskel, Shiwai’s howler monkey imitations, and the general clamor and screams of 8 year olds away from their parents.  The kids made five oddly-shaped pizzas and ooed and ahhed as we placed them one by one in the clay oven*.  The kids wanted pizzas with only cheese and ham on them, but we managed to convince them that garlic, oregano, and cilantro are critical ingredients on a pizza and they just can‘t see them usually. Yummm.

 * Note:  I tried a new strategy of leaving the coals in the oven as we cooked the pizzas since they cook best at very high temperatures.  The resulting pizzas were spectacular and I will be implementing this strategy in the future.  Ah, delectable pizzas.

During this time, I came to realize the implications of having children in the house, and how far from “child proof” our house is.  I can at least take some praise for storing away all of my cutting, spearing, and filleting devices, but I did fail in securing our hammocks sufficiently since I didn’t know they would be used as swings.  Don’t worry, only one child went away with a bruised tail bone.  The only other casualty was a broken screen, but I fixed that one and our landlord will never know…unless he’s reading this (sorry Sebastien).

A couple of great quotes from the kids that are worth mentioning:

Translated from Spanish:
“Mrs. Savage, I don’t mean to be rude, but when we get to your house can I borrow your bathroom?” -Yuliana (Jenn busted up laughing and reassured her that she could, of course, use the bathroom without being rude.)

“What are we going to do when they leave? We won’t have English, we won’t have a Star Student of the week…I mean, no other teacher has ever invited us over to their house.” -Argelyn, Yuliana, and Aaliyah lamenting our departure, after which we received a toast for being the best teachers ever.

Practicing their English:
“I comb my hair in front of the mirror.”-Denskel exclaimed as he toured our home with a pause in the bathroom. (We’ve been learning this phrase in class recently….so proud!)

“Can I have some more pizza hut please?”-Argelyn (Accidentally adding on “hut” to the end.)

In the end, a good time was had by all.
For more pictures, go to:Pizza Party Pictures

The other event that we recently were involved in was the dedication of the church that we helped build at the beginning of our time in Costa Rica.  What a great reunion this turned out to be.  A number of our friends that helped build the church made the trek from the US back to San Jose for the event.  “Shout outs” to Carol and Dave Matheson, and Steve Walker.  Like always, we imposed ourselves on the Baits (Thank you guys for being our adopted parents down here.) and got to spend the weekend with Jim and Sara Wiegner, former missionaries in Costa Rica and elsewhere.  There was also a group in town from the Great Rivers Region of Illinois.
Jenn's first official translating job.  Pastor Olman was
very appreciative.
I'm supervising Jenn's work.  This wasn't staged.
The Alajualita Baptist Church is now a dedicated building that needs a lot of work and prayer in its next step of becoming a blessing to the community.  The church body, as of now, consists of about 15 people, but there were around 150 people at the dedication.  It was wonderful to see the building so full, and we hope that the church will begin to fill its chairs as it reaches out to the families around.

For more pictures of the church dedication: Alajuelita Church Dedication

Well, here goes the end of the trip, which brings a number of visitors.  Nick and Donna Bowers are visiting this Friday through Tuesday, and Jenn’s Dad and brothers arrive on Monday for a week-long visit. (Yes, we will be attempting to cook a turkey in our clay oven assuming customs doesn‘t flag the frozen turkey in their suitcase.)  Then, we are flying out of Costa Rica into Boise, Idaho on December 2nd.  There will be a welcome home party for us at my Mom-in-law’s home on Sunday the 4th at 2pm.  If you have been following our blog we would love to see you there.  Find it on Facebook or drop us an email for an address.  We will for sure have at least one more post on the blog as a conclusion/reflection.  Thank you for your continued support.
The dedication service.

Chris and Jenn Savage


  1. Are they really going to try to pack a frozen turkey?

    Rob Leslie

  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog. What a great idea to have your students over. Those kinds of memories will stay with those children probably their whole life. Its been great to hear all the stories of your adventures and how God is working in your guys lives. I'll miss you guys when you leave Costa Rica but I'm our paths will cross some how in the future. See you guys when your in the valley! Have fun with your family visiting!

  3. So fun:) Hope you're getting your morning stretches on! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU GUYS!!!!