Tragedy in Paradise

Some of you know that my favorite charity in Atenas is Hogar de Vida, a children’s home for abused and abandoned children. I contribute or participate in limited ways. In April 2018 a group of Senior Adults from First Baptist Nashville came for a week work project that I joined and helped facilitate. You can see some of the 2018 photos in my gallery.

Matt is the director of the children’s home and I just got a message from Matt which I think you can see at the link. In short:

A youth group with adult sponsors from Matt’s home church in Omaha came to do a week’s project just like we last year. And just like us, they had a “tourist day” where they went to Jaco for the beach and ziplining (just like us). But unlike us, the teens wanted to spend time in the ocean where Costa Rica has many warning signs about “riptides,”  “undertow” or “rip currents” that can be quite dangerous. Well, 5 of the group got pulled into the riptide and underwater. One did not survive. One of the adult sponsors and mother of one of the teens drowned. Matt has of course handled everything lovingly and professionally. But it is horrible for a family, a church, a group of youth, and the children’s home here, especially difficult for Matt. Your prayers are requested and appreciated. And the photo above is of Jaco Beach where it happened.

Sometimes pura vida has its ugly side and riptide drownings is one of those.

Hogar de Vida 23rd Birthday Today

And I can’t show children’s faces online which is the most beautiful part, but here’s the event!

We sang happy birthday to Hogar – in Spanish of course! 

New shirts for special occasions!

The back of the shirts. The toddlers had orange shirts with animals on them, but no good photo without faces. 

I think I’m safe on the faces here! 

Helen arranged everything AND served the cake! 

This is a very special place and I am now on the board of directors thought they call it something else.
And will be volunteering on the grounds occasionally when not traveling!  🙂 

It is very easy to make a donation to Hogar de Vida home for abused and neglected children, simply go to this website and make either a one-time donation or schedule a monthly gift:


And you can select the Costa Rica or the Guatemala home as you prefer. 
¡Pura Vida!

Both Bizarre and Common Insects

Dobsonfly
Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica

Common Grasshopper
Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica
To read more about Dobsonfly:  Wikipedia  in 5 languages, but not Spanish!
To read more about Grasshoppers:   Wikipedia   in 5 languages, but not Spanish!
There are 11,000 known species of grasshoppers in the world and with more than 300.000 insect species in Costa Rica there has to be a lot of different kinds of grasshoppers here! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Rufous-naped Wren

Rufous-naped Wren
Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica

Rufous-naped Wren
Hogar de Vida Campus, Atenas, Costa Rica
This noisy and aggressive little bird is the most numerous at my house and seemed to be likewise at Hogar de Vida during our week of living there. I shared a different shot than these in the photo book for the participants. To read more about this Central American bird, see:   
Neotropical Birds  where you can learn the most, see a locations map & hear them sing  
Wikipedia  where you can read about them in 10 languages and learn that the bird’s name in Spanish is Ratona de nuca rufa
And a search for my photos of this wren at my house, if interested. The only bird that flies inside my house. Click an image to see it larger.

Though wildlife was not the emphasis of the mission trip last week, I have a few animal shots that I will share the next few days from both the campus and the tourist day trip. 

¡Pura Vida!

Last Day at Hogar de Vida

Letty “cutting in” along the floor as we continued painting the Baby House.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Finally a photo not showing children’s faces as we again played with the Toddler House.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Our “last supper” as a mission team to
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Then we celebrated Larry’s birthday with a Passion Fruit, Pineapple & Coconut Cake
inscribed with “Feliz Cumpleaños Larry” Happy Birthday in Spanish.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

The Gnuse family. Matt is missionary director of the home.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

You will hear more about this fantastic children’s home, what we did there and future mission trips to Hogar de Vida.     Or see their Facebook Page. 

A Fantastic Place!

A Day with Helen!

Helen (seated) at Hogar was our helper, translator, and inspiration today – another great day!
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Also today I walked some of the group to town for a look around and the walk was too much for some of them, but we enjoyed seeing the Central Mercado, Central Park and Catholic Church.

Saturday at Hogar de Vida

We scraped trees in preparation for painting the bottoms.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Team members sharing stories.over morning coffee.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Sorry, but we are not allowed to share photos of the children on the internet for security reasons.

First Full Day at Hogar

Sorry, but we are not allowed to show children’s faces on the internet! My best photos!

Sign at Entrance Gate
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Matt gives team tour of campus (3 team members not in photo)
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

8:30 AM Devotional for those not in school
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Rene painting in one of houses

Welcome sign for team at San Jose Airport  for Thursday.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica