This week has been a difficult one; in line with the recent natural disasters that maimed areas of the United States, Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Martinique, Costa Rica–together with its Central American neighbours–weathered one of the region’s most violent attacks. Tropical Storm Nate brought high winds, floods, and mudslides; it took roads, homes, livelihoods, and lives.

This week has also been a united one as Ticos from all over the country accepted the destruction through acts of courage, support, and goodwill. Our eyes and ears have been glued to Teletica (the local news station) and La Nacion (the local newspaper) in order to absorb stories of kindness aimed to lift everyone’s spirits and serve as a reminder of national pride.

Schools closed, businesses stopped operating, and time seemed to stand still.

But, “pura vida” persevered.

By Saturday, focus shifted momentarily from the national emergency to the Costa Rica futbol World Cup qualifying match between Costa Rica and Honduras that was scheduled for the evening. Arguably the most future-defining game of the year (as either a game win or a game tie would send the team to the competition), there was a lot riding on its outcome. Given the unpredictable and unprecedented changes that stunned the country days before, Ticos from Guanacaste to the Osa to Limon craved normalcy. Fortunately, in Costa Rica, nothing screams convention and habit like watching and cheering for la sele (the national team selection), so the game couldn’t have come at a more impactful time.

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Billy Johnson

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