Last month a man came to the club late at night in need of food for his children. His social security needed to be covered so his wife could get medical help and his electric and water needed to be reconnected as he had been unable to pay these since losing his job. He was sorry to have to be asking for help and not to be able to secure work to care for his family. We helped in all respects and the next week he returned; this time full of joy and gratitude to thank us as he had now secured work again and his wife was feeling much better and his children had food. He told us that he was not from the local neighborhood and he had not known of the Society. He had been seeking help and been unable to find support, but someone in the town where he lived (not a member) had said “if you go there (to Taoist Tai Chi Society in Heredia) they will help you.’’
I remembered back to Master Moy sharing part of his vision with us “that if someone really needed help wherever they lived, they would be able to find a light in the window in our home and come and find help.”
I was reminded to share this story at the celebration of the Dedication of the Guan Yin Shrine in Miami earlier this month and was moved to share a few more images and experiences from the past month from activities here in the Society in Costa Rica
Each week throughout this year we have been collecting donations of food, clothes, school items (pens, books, etc), medicines, and other necessities to help families in the community. We have been able to regularly support more than 15 families and a dozen of these still needed help at the year end, so we focused on making it a special season for them.
Our aim for Christmas time was to be visit the families share time and celebrate a little, bring food for a week or more, some presents and support. Members gave generously and we soon were able to prepare gifts and supplies for the four families who live up to two hours from the club that we planned to visit during the week before Christmas. Here are a few reflections from one of those visits:
We took some seniors from the local community to enjoy the experience also and arrived with cake and ice cream and soda for the children. The family has a few basic items of furniture mostly donated by neighbors and amongst them a fridge (most families we support do not even have this). The children, five years old and younger, had never seen cake, let alone tasted it, and they were unsure what it was. As it is very hot near Orotina, we put the ice cream in the fridge for a moment—when I opened the door there were two toothbrushes and half a tube of toothpaste in the freezer and nothing else. The father had been seeking work since early morning and arrived home in the late afternoon with a bag of sugar as payment for his efforts.
The previous year the Christmas food packages had allowed them to plant corn to feed the chicks they had been given and these and a rooster were now strutting around. The month before we had provided shoes for all the children as the route to the school and the Church where they all went to ask for help and give thanks were full of sharp stones. The teacher had asked the mother not to send the children to school in socks so the next day they had to go in bare feet.
The five children helped carry the supplies to the shelter they are happy to call home and we opened some presents and talked, getting updates on the health challenges and other needs and planning medications and support for the new year.
For eight families nearer to the club we were able to provide the support and invite them all to the club for a party as the last activity of the year. For most it was the first opportunity for the whole family to go out anywhere together. We organized cars to collect and return the families. Bart played live keyboard music and introduced a few children to hidden talents playing their first notes. The children in their 80s (the grandparents) did remarkably well at musical chairs and of course were seasoned with the piñata. All the children received bags of fruit and other goodies. One child arrived feeling too ill to join in the games, when we asked when she last ate and drank something, we learned the problem could be easily remedied—a plate of arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) and two glasses of refresco and she was joining in the fun with the other 33 invitees. It did not stop her demolishing another large plateful during the dinner along with many happy and no-longer-hungry companions. The food and hygiene supplies for the families intended to last into the new year were received with considerable appreciation and disbelief by some of the seniors, the children were mostly focused on the Christmas gifts they were taking home (clothes and toys according to need). Lots of members helped in collecting donations, wrapping, preparing food and our home to receive guests, entertaining, driving and cleaning. The energy and harmony were lovely.
We are starting on provision for the needs of the New Year and are happy to be part of that vision of our teacher, bringing hope through “a light in the window” to the communities wherever we are able to establish a Society home.