Friday, August 28, 2009

Rotten Kids

Today in orientation we talked about cultural differences. There definitely are some. Here are few that might interest you.

First, if you arrive on time for a dinner with friends it implies that you are starving. So, you should arrive at least 15 minutes late.

Second, all Costa Ricans, or Ticos, were told by their mothers that sickness comes from germs mainly on the floor. They never go barefoot in the house and concentrate much of their cleaning on the floors.

Third, it is illegal in Costa Rica to spank your child. The speaker said that even yelling was illegal but I don't know if he was joking about that. Also, if you had dinner with Ticos and your child misbehaved everyone would wait silently for you to discipline your child and if you didn't, they would scold him for you. It is not so much a problem that children misbehave, but it is considered very bad parenting for you not to reprimand them immediately. I wonder how this would go over in the States. The next time a kid mouths off to a mom, I think everyone should stop talking until she does something about it. And if she doesn't, then you say something. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

After the session on cultural differences, a local pastor gave us short history of Costa Rica. Costa Rica developed much differently that the other Latin American countries because it had a very small Indian population. Since there were few Indians for slave labor, and so a small chance of getting rich, few Spanish came here. No one wanted to be the governor of Costa Rica because even he had to farm the land himself to feed his family. So, instead of developing a small wealthy class and a very large slave population, Costa Rica became a land similar to the American frontier with small private farms. When Costa Rica became independent in the 1820's, the first elected president was a school teacher who bought a printing press from Pennsylvania and began printing books. Costa Rica has only had one military general elected president. Most have been teachers, doctors, etc.

Costa Rica for centuries had been a refuge for Jews fleeing persectution. Because it had few Europeans and few Catholic churches, Jews came here from Europe to live in peace. The first coat of arms and the first Costa Rican flag each contained a star of David. The Pastor thinks that Costa Rica's care for Jews is one of the reasons for its success as a nation.

Costa Rica has a large middle class. It's literacy rate is over 90%. (Nicaragua's is in the 40's). It has a decent health care system and good infrastructure.

Is that enough info? You know how I love facts!
Pastor Juan Pavon and his daughter, Maria, should be arriving from Nicaragua tomorrow. Maria is going to stay a few months with us to practice her English. We can't wait to see them both.

  • Camden has been in heaven playing soccer everyday.
  • Mason has found a buddy who likes swords and Pokemon so life is good.
  • Karis and Ellie are playing at the neighbor's house this afternoon so life is definitely good for me!
  • Jeff turned his ankle walking this morning right after I asked him if he should wear his brace. I am trying to be sympathetic!

Thanks everyone for all your prayers. We are thinking of you all at Brown's and excited about the 40 days of purpose. God bless you.



  1. so glad I found your blog. I copied it off for gramps and Martha. Glad to hear everyone is doing so well.

  2. Hey Jeff and April,
    Hope all is well, it sounds like it, except for Jeff's ankle of course. Jeff please email me on the Nicaragua issue. I will be ready to roll within the next two weeks (taxi). You are in our prayers.


  3. Its nice to see that you guys are doing good, the children always seem to fit in where ever they go.. I will let you know that I forworded all your mail that you got yesterday. I had to do your route yesterday.. Mom (Betty Henry) says we love ya and we will keep praying for you.. Have fun! Suzzie

  4. What a great way to keep up with you. John and I miss you both very much. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Bunny Punches

  5. We do miss you guys. It seems like there is a hole at church where you guys fit in.

    Jeff I can't believe you aren't wearing your ankle brace.

    Miss you

    John Punches