By Mitzvah Corps Costa Rica II Program Staff
There is a midrash that talks about a mountain, a mountain that is a symbol for a higher purpose. The midrash goes on about paths up this proverbial mountain; there are many different routes one can take on their journey to reach the top. Each path up the mountain has it own twists and turns, steep parts and flat parts, but they all end at the same place, the top.
Similarly, each member of our Mitzvah Corps Costa Rica community has taken a different path to reach this same place, the Yorkín river in southeast Costa Rica, and the community that dwells here, right near the Panama border. Together, as our own new community, we have the unique opportunity to walk the muddy trails through the jungle.
In a surprisingly accurate turn of events, we spent our first full morning in Yorkín helping to build and restructure the muddy paths here. During our first work block, we each carried our own bag of sand to and from the river to lay out in the paths to help combat the large quantities of mud. Later, the teens came up with an assembly line system that covered far more ground in a much shorter amount of time.
The next part of our day led us down a much more refreshing path. After hauling bags of sand for several hours, everyone’s t-shirts were uniformly wet with sweat, and brown and gritty with sand. So the only logical solution was to go down to the river and jump in.
As the sun sets on day six, we prepare to welcome the Shabbat bride here, in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by colorful flora, buzzing insects, and a very loud rooster. It gets dark pretty fast here with such a thick canopy and high mountains, so we get some extra time with our day of rest. It’s certainly the most exotic location most of us have been to celebrate Shabbat, and how amazing that we can do it here, together, so far in the wilderness. where we can say a friendly “hi” to a blue-tailed lizard on our way to enjoy Shabbat dinner. Shabbat shalom and hasta luego from Yorkín, Costa Rica.