I know I’ve mentioned a few things that surprised me upon arriving to Costa Rica. It would be weird if nothing was different from home. But I think Costa Rica really has shown me a lot of cool things. For example, I’ve learned how to bike witness.
Back home, we live in a rural area with houses and streets spread far apart, especially considering we’re part of a Spanish congregation in an English-speaking country. So, we might have a house or two on one street, skip into another neighborhood for a few more, etc. I can say that although I’m a witness, I’ve really never gone literally house-to-house witnessing because not all householders speak Spanish. With such circumstances, we have one mode of transportation. We drive cars in service. That’s it.
That’s why coming to Costa Rica was so eye-opening. Imagine, real house-to-house! On foot. In boats. And… by bicycle. 🚲
It’s been quite an experience! Of course, there’s a purpose to traveling on bike. It’s not just for fun or exercise. Bikes are a serious mode of transportation here. They help you reach territories that are a bit further out and that you might have trouble reaching on foot.
No wonder everyone has great stamina! They have to exercise anytime they go out to preach. They do it so willingly and with a great attitude, too! All the friends here are an example to imitate.
Or no hands…
After the first few times, we learned our lesson. Always put on sunblock anywhere that will be exposed to the sun. And wear a hat. I got sunburned on the back of my hands since I forgot to put sunblock on them and I had them on the handlebars in the sun all day. Not fun. Don’t be like Daisy, wear your sunblock. (Don’t forget to reapply every few hours!)
Another interesting thing to note is that not everyone here owns a bike. Not everyone can afford them. And so, when someone that doesn’t own a bike shows up for service, we have a few options:
1. Leave the bicycles at a secure location and have the whole group walk. We want to avoid having to leave anyone behind! And again, the friends here are in great shape, so they wouldn’t complain. Seriously. They could walk and bike circles around me while I sweat a few buckets.
2. Have them ride on the back or front of the bike. This option is really tricky, especially considering road conditions and service clothing, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that isn’t experienced or at an expert at cycling. I’m definitely not, so I always rode solo!
3. Split into separate groups that walk and those that ride bicycles.
For similar reasons, you want to take care of your bike and give it regular maintenance. Of course, every day is an adventure.
This is great for emergencies, regular maintenance, and easier travel. When we first arrived and pulled out this air pump in front of our new friends, they all jokingly argued over who was going to keep it once we left. This particular one that Alba bought and that I brought from home cost about $10 at Walmart, had different tips for inflating a variety of objects, and folds down to about 8 inches.
Remember the rainy season I had mentioned in another post? Sometimes the weather cuts our service short.
That’s okay, though. We make good use of the time. 😁
Overall, bike witnessing is just something I’ve enjoyed. A new facet of service I hadn’t had the opportunity to experience at home quickly became a completely normal part of my routine. It takes a while to get used to it though. Especially on those days when you ride 20 kilometers to get to and return from the territories further out.
As I told my family, I was dead that day. You might never hear from me and my legs again. Headlines will read: “So sad. Crippled at such a young age from excessive bike riding.”
I’m just kidding. But in all reality, be aware of your limits. Keep in mind too that bikes are expensive and so many needgreaters will buy bikes for the duration of their stay and then give them away to local brothers or sisters here that can’t afford them. After all, it’s a valuable vehicle here!