For the last 7 years, during which we have been participating in a WorldVision Child Sponshorship, I am sad to say that we have hardly had any time to think about it very often.
Like many people we know, we were overwhelmed with our manically busy and hyper productive Western lifestyle. The focus was on building our future instead of living our present. A mistake too often made.
Whenever we were able to quiet the clamor of our mental machines and seize a little personal time to reflect about anything at all, we always thought of little Angie as a baby-faced girl in a small and impoverished country.
People never grow old in memories and the image of her that we had in our minds never strayed very far from the picture of Angie that we were given in 2005.
In late 2011, we decided to stop living for a faraway and unknown future and that meant that we had to take a look at everything and get rid of the unimportant.
It is amazing how quickly Angie became important to us again.
Life is like that, when you clear away all of the meaningless things that drain our physical and mental energies, you are left with something that can only be called happiness.
In the weeks before our planned meeting with Angie, we had no idea what to expect and Angie and her mother probably didn’t either. There is something about walking into a situation where neither party knows how it will unfold.
We were already nervous, so it didn’t help when the directions we were given succeeded in getting us lost.
Driving through green pastureland, spotted by white bulls shading themselves under the trees, we came upon the village that we had been instructed to look for.
Thanks to our best friend Mrs. GPS, that part was easy enough.
But, once we had to actually follow the written directions given by the WorldVision Field Office, things got harder.
“Turn Left at 600 Meters North from the Catholic Church in a government office building.”"
This vagueness created a certain degree of discomfort, not the least being that a young girl was waiting for us in a state of uncertainty and fear that we might not show up. Because it was a holiday the week before this one, we had not been able to firmly confirm anything with the organizers and thinking of Angie worrying over us adding to the stress of being lost. With no phone, we couldn’t call to let them know that we were coming, and worse, we couldn’t call for help.
Being in Costa Rica, you get pretty used to directions like the ones we were given, as the country has no addresses or street names.
Yes, you read that correctly, the country has no addresses or street names.
Directions are given by randomly guessing the distance from arbitrary landmarks, and what passes for a landmark around here is commonly along the lines of the “yellow house” or “the church”. You can only imagine that both do not give a great degree of comfort in a nation that is fond of brightly colored homes and is largely god-fearing.
We had to ask several people and when we did find it, it was more of an accident.
Jenni waited in the car while I had gone in to a squat and weather worn building, that had something about it that appeared to be government oriented. It was down an unpaved street and looked nothing like what you or I might expect a government office to look like, but my Costa Rican spidey-senses must be kicking in because this did in fact turn out to be a government office of sorts. The bad news is that this wasn’t the place at all, but the cousin of the guy we were looking for was waiting in line to talk to the clerk so he pointed me to a building behind the building and said I might find his cousin there.
I walked across the dusty, potholed, mine-field that passes for a government parking lot and around a sleeping dog to another building behind the so-called government building. I felt like I was really getting off track here, because Costa Ricans have the good/bad reputation of telling you wrong directions so they won’t have to disappoint you by telling you that they can’t help you.
With low hopes of success, I walked into the building and there she was.
Little Angie was sitting at a table next to a stack of 50 pound bags of beans. It was all a blur, and before I knew it, the Angel was hugging me and I knew that it was all going to be OK.
The blur continued as the excitement and happiness washed over me, and before I knew it I was back at the car and jumping in behind the wheel.
“So, Did You Find Out Anything?”, she said to me.
Still, fuzzy, I said “I just met an Angel.”
“What?? You met her? She’s here ? “, Jenni stammered, my confusion and excitement passing to her.
“Yes”, I said. “She’s beautiful, and she’s waiting for you inside”.
STAY TUNED for the continuation of this great story and to find out how our meeting with Angie Unfolded.
-Ryan Xavier, the “Homeless Writer” Costa Rica, April 2012.