Entry Uno The sun did indeed shine in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday, as the Liberty men's basketball team journeyed into the heart of the city. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for the Flames' morning visit to Holy Spirit Orphanage.
The trip tour guide Mario is a very entertaining and informative guy. During the team's morning bus ride, he pointed out some landmarks in the city and gave some very interesting facts:
Surrounded by mountains, San Jose is one of four Costa Rican cities located in what is known as the Central Valley. These four cities combined have a total population of about four million people, which accounts for the majority of the country's inhabitants.
Much like Brazil and Colombia, Costa Rica is known for its coffee. While it formerly was the country's top export, the decision was made in the 1980s to reduce the production and switch to making coffee with berries rather than beans. The transition certainly makes the flavor of Costa Rican coffee truly unique.
Houses in the city are surrounded by gates and topped with barbed wire fencing. While to those of us from the U.S., these features resemble a prison yard, but for Costa Rican home owners it is a matter of safety and security. Potential intruders are less likely to approach a place that is enclosed by steel bars and barbed wire.
Flames Visit Holy Spirit Orphanage What will probably be one of the top highlights of this trip was the visit to the Holy Spirit Orphanage or Asociacion obras del Espiritu Santo. This ministry is truly amazing. More than just an orphanage, Holy Spirit's mission is to provide a home and education for children who come from broken homes and dangerous living situations.
The Flames stopped by the church first and learned about the orphanage's origin and mission. The team then visited some of the educational center's classrooms and introduced themselves to the children before sitting down with them for lunch.
After lunch, the Flames went out to the playground with the children. During the recess period, the kids showed off their soccer skills, while the Flames gave them some basketball tips. It was amazing to see the impact we had on the children there. The kids enjoyed talking with the players in the cafeteria and had a blast playing games with them on the playground. Before we departed, the children told us they did not want us to leave.
Josiah Talbert was mic'd up during the visit and really embraced the entire experience, offering piggy back rides to whoever wanted them. Be on the lookout for his interactions and conversations with the children there in a future Game On feature.
The Flames also toured other parts of the orphanage, including the prayer chapel, the daycare center and the shelter. We were not able to take photos or video in the shelter since the children there are protected. Ms. Rosa, who runs the shelter, was very welcoming and the kids there were really excited about the Flames' visit.
The photo gallery below contains numerous photos from our unforgettable visit to the Holy Spirit Orphanage. Gracias to the entire staff there. Their commitment to sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ with the children who live and go to school there is evident.
Casados, Coffee and Coconut Fudge Following the visit, the Flames stopped for lunch at an authentic Costa Rican restaurant. The food there was fantastic! Everyone enjoyed a large plate of various foods (casados), with their pick of steak, chicken, pork chop or pulled meat. The coffee there, which is made with some of the best berries in the country and brewed in an old fashion way, is highly recommended. There were also a variety of desserts there, including coconut fudge, which is first class.
Traffic Report The journey back to the hotel probably took three times longer than it should have due to the heavy traffic in San Jose. It is not uncommon for the city's roads to be constantly bogged down Monday through Friday. The roads are a little tight for a bus, but motorcycles seemed to get around just fine, using the spaces between stopped cars and even the sidewalk when necessary. Traffic seemed to be heaviest during the hours of 3-4 p.m. We were hoping for a little more downtime before the game at 7:30 p.m., but the other vehicles in the city seemed to have other plans.
Liberty vs. Costa Rican National Team The Flames controlled the action from the onset, jumping out to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter thanks in part to the three-point shooting of Lovell Cabbil. The sophomore led Liberty on the night with 11 points, hitting 3-of-4 from downtown.
Liberty took a 12-point lead (34-22) into the locker room at halftime. Costa Rica chipped away at the deficit in the third quarter, holding the Flames to nine points to trail by seven (43-36) heading into the fourth. A pair of acrobatic layups and a monstrous dunk from Caleb Homesley helped seal the 60-49 victory for the Flames.
Homelsey closed out the contest with 10 rebounds. Freshman Brock Gardner had eight points, followed by five Flames with six – A.C. Reid, Jorge Pacheco-Oritz, John Dawson and Ezra and Josiah Talbert. Three-pointers played a huge factor, with the Flames nailing eight treys compared to two for Costa Rica.
Looking Ahead Liberty will play its final exhibition game of the trip against Brock University before heading to Los Suenos for the remainder of its stay in Costa Rica. On the way, the Flames will stop for lunch and check out some of the largest crocodiles in the wild.
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