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Costa Rica: Intro to Pre-Med & Public Health, Session 2 2023

July 15, 2023

After a long night with many guests arriving very late, we all were up before the sun. To go white water rafting, after a long drive ( 3 hrs), we arrived at Exploradores, where we had breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, and delicious toast with marmalade. Then we headed to the Pacuare River, and on the way we learned the basics of white water rafting. Our family of students split into groups of 6 and we began our descent down the windy river. As our journey began, all groups paddled through rough waters and worked together. Using our communications skill, teamwork abilities, and bonding, we created new friendships.

Halfway through our journey, we took a quick break to refuel, rehydrate, and reapply sunscreen. At our break, our amazing guides provided delicious pineapple, which was a treat for the whole group. After we were fed, sun-screened, and hydrated, we headed back down the river. We passed more waterfalls than we could count, seeing the true beauty of the Pacuare River. Almost to the end of journey, we all were able to hop out of our rafts and drift down the river. After a bit more rafting, we exited the river heading back to the base camp of Exploradores. We all changed and showered. After we were all refreshed and clean, we ate lunch, which was a salad with chicken on a flour tortilla. After everyone was fed, we began our journey back to the hotel. We saw the intense rain Costa Rica has for the first time. The journey back to the hotel took a total of four hours due to traffic. Once we arrived at the hotel, we all headed to our rooms to refresh and at 7 pm we had a lovely dinner. Everyone ate what they wanted with a variety of options, ranging from burgers to lasagna. After our dinner, we headed to the spare room with the pool table and conducted a team meeting. The meeting went over our Itinerary for tomorrow and the rest of the trip, as well as rules.  We were also educated on the geography of Costa Rica. We concluded our meeting with a team meeting, where we picked our two leaders for the next day. They are Nico and Leo, our whole group has faith that they will do very well as leaders. Everyone is also very excited about the coming days events.

-Stella and Nick

July 16, 2023

Following a long and arduous day on the water, the group all went to bed happy and thoroughly exhausted. Waking up in time for breakfast was a challenge for all, but those who chose to were greeted by a delicious traditional Costa Rican breakfast, consisting of beans, rice, eggs, an assortment of fruits and of course, coffee. The group then made their way to the bus where the remaining students who had not woken up yet for breakfast joined them. The trip took nearly 2 hours, but we finally arrived at Finca Donia Rosa, a lovely coffee and fruit farm where we began are group orientation. We started with a quick exercise where each student faced each other and exchanged some random sort of information about themselves. The game was fun and served as a good icebreaker for everyone. We then started the second part of orientation, which consisted of splitting into groups of 3 and drawing each other. The activity was similarly useful in getting to know other group mates, and got a couple of laughs here and there from the group. Finally, the third and final part was the drafting of our group contract, which was an agreement that all members agreed to uphold. With the team bonding behind us, the group began a short hike up a small hill to a sugar cane refinery. Here, the group was treated to some miracle berries, which tricked the inside of peoples mouths to make limes taste sweet. After this, the group leaders Leo and Nico showed the group how to rotate the grinder to crush the sugar cane.
After everyone had their fill of the delicious and sweet cane, everyone went downhill to the coffee section. Here, we were treated to a short demonstration of how the coffee bean is roasted and prepared, and everyone was generously given a small bag of locally produced coffee to take home with them. After the tour, everyone sat down back at the main house of the farm to enjoy a fantastic lunch consisting of chicken and rice prepared for us by the locals, which everyone ate with gusto. Then, everyone went down to the fútbol field and we all played a small friendly match which everyone seemed to enjoy. Sweaty and ready for a nice swim, everyone packed onto the bus and we returned back to the hotel at around 6:15. Some students went to their rooms to brush up, but others made their way to the pool and swam a bit.
After a nice dinner, the group met in the rec room and learned about Costa Rican medical statistics from Marcella to help better prepare for their coming days of working in a clinic. New leaders were selected (Nhu and Cameron) and the tired and well-fed group went straight to bed, ready for the next day.

— Leo and Nico

July 17, 2023

This is the 3rd day of our trip and we got down to the real service works after the first two days of getting to know each other and warming things up with rafting and visiting the coffee farm. We had breakfast at 6:30 AM and got on the bus to start visiting the clinic at 7 o’clock. When we came to the clinic, we split the group in half. One group stayed at the main clinic and the another went to the mobile clinic. We were assigned in the group who went to visiting the remote clinic. When we arrived, our first impression with the place was how it didn’t really look like a clinic because it seems like the place was redesigned from the community center to be a clinic for the people there. We had some good experience doing our service work by making smaller groups such as the receptionists who greeted patients when they came to the clinic, took their vital check and sent them to the doctor. The other small group worked at the pharmacy to organize the medication and give them to patients after they visit the doctor. The other group was assigned to observe the doctor, and the last group was to give out health information to people. I was in the last group, which was a challenge because of our limited Spanish, but we got to go outside and heard one of the neighbors talked about her story of being a refugee from Nicaragua migrating to Costa Rica and she and her family had to flee to the area where our clinic is, and their living conditions are not good. One takeaway that I got is that after hearing her story, I feel more grateful and learned to appreciate my life and this experience also inspired to want to do more to help people like her.

– Nhu and Cameron

July 18, 2023

On the second day at the San Jose clinic groups switched. At the clinic in lower San Jose it was slow there was less people, a few families came in. some people stayed at their stations that they started at. For example, Nick came into the pharmacy to help with finding meds once a rush started. After our lunch we were able to to get popsicles as well, super yummy. We learned a lot about what medications can be used to treat illnesses. As well as what medicines are able to substituted for others when one is not available.
Today started with our breakfast at hotel Brilla Sol. Then, we bussed to the clinic and mobile clinic. For the group that was at the clinic yesterday, we switched over to the mobile clinic location which is directly in the community that we work with. There were lots of little kids playing with us named Benjamin, Joel, Victoria, and Mason. They had so much energy and we all drew and practiced our Spanish with them. While some of their parents were getting examined by the doctor, the kids would sit with us and wait for their parent. We learned a lot of Spanish in the mobile clinic because we were interacting with children who we could practice the language with. On the way back from the clinic, we stopped at Walmart and all got food together. Tonight some of us get to participate in a dancing class. In the class we learned different kinds of dancing such as bachata and salsa. We were able to enjoy learning and participating with different group members.

Calla & Stella

July 19, 2023

On Wednesday, we had an early start to the morning. Because we were changing locations, we had to have our bags packed by 6:50 in order to leave after breakfast for the clinic at 7:30. As we were finishing our food, we got the news that there were protests on the road to the clinic, and we weren’t sure when we would be able to get there. This altered our plans our plans for the day and we started on our way to the next destination. We stopped at a local restaurant for food, and our group leaders made  plans to visit a chocolate farm! At the farm we learned how Cocoa powder is used to make chocolate and other beverages, and its impact throughout history. We got to drink different hot cocoas and make our own chocolate desserts with our own choice of organic ingredients. After the farm, we headed to the hotel where we swam together as a group and then had dinner and our community meeting! Overall today was just a travel and adventure day due to the unexpected issues in San Jose. Due to the room swaps, new friendships have blossomed.

McLeod and Parker

July 20, 2023

Today was a day full of education starting with a morning of making and tasting delicious mozzarella cheese at Crisley’s farm. Our day began with breakfast at 8, and then at 8:45 we headed to the farm. Once we arrived we were surprised with new born puppies to play with. Then the owner of the farm- Crisley- gave a presentation about the history of his farm and how he got to where he is today. Then we split into 3 groups taking turns making and tasting the cheese while the others played card games. After everyone had rotated through, we had a brief tour of the farm where we tasted a variety of delicious fruits and even met some piglets. Then we took a break for lunch which was rice, beans, salad; and star fruit juice. After lunch we started day 1 of our Wilderness First Aid course. We learned CPR, the beginnings of basic first aid, and the Heinrich maneuver. Then we headed back to the hotel where we were given free time, and finally had the opportunity to call home. At 7 we had dinner which was either a fried fish meal or grilled chicken meal. After dinner we had our group meeting where we played duck duck goose and picked our new leaders Andrew and Lauren. Our night ended with some free time at the hot springs, pool, or rooms before heading to bed.

– Lilly and Nick

July 21, 2023

Today we went back to the cheese farm to continue our wilderness first aid training. Now we are prepared to care for broken bones, lightning strikes, and heat strokes in locations over an hour away from EMS. We did a lot of practice going out and working with our peers to further our understanding of the training. Our favorite was using the back boards and carrying each other on them using the different styles and techniques. Overall, we learned a lot of very helpful training that could save people’s lives. After, we came back to the hotel for a salsa lesson. After, we ate pasta, which was super good, and a nice break from beans and rice. We had a quick group meeting, and got everyone excited for zip lining tomorrow!

-Lauren & Andrew

July 22, 2023

Today we finished our Wilderness First Wid course with one last practice scenario. Everyone had fun treating our “patients” (trip leaders) and learning more about how to treat injuries in the back country. We then received all of our credentials and had lunch before driving an hour to zip line! We zip-lined over the cloud forest and everyone had a great time! We then got to walk around the near by town and had dinner. It was a great day of fun and learning!

-Marin and Sara

July 23, 2023

Today we sadly said goodbye to the Heleconias; our home for the past 5 days. We enjoyed the amazing common spaces (pool, hot springs, soccer field, and cabins) where we formed a stronger friendship amongst each other. We also said good bye to stage 2 where we get to get certified CPR in wilderness while enjoying the cheese farm and its wonderful numerous types of fruits and animals. Furthermore today we start stage 3, which makes us count the days for home. We all agree we miss our rooms, beds, clothes, family, friends, and pets. Though we miss all these great things, we still have amazing activities to keep us entertained for example karaoke car rides, eating deserts (ice cream, Carmel cheese cake, brownies, etc), and yoga. 10 of us learned that some are more flexible than others but nobody is more flexible than our amazing yoga teacher. The other 11 students got to go to the hotel earlier and got to meet another group of students, we also met our new protectors at our inn 2 pups. We are very excited for tomorrow that we can’t sleep in because we get to meet Ana and get an introduction to alternative medicine. It was an amazing day!!

– Rani and Ashley

July 24, 2023

Ok hi. This is Shannon and Ayla. Today was very very fun. Ok so first we woke up way too early and had some decent breakfast. After that was done we went to this house with a bunch of plants and toured around. They showed us their spiritual practices like jumping over burning leaves and flowers to cleanse your mind and body and toured around their house and property that included a reiki room and in the garden they had spaces to forgive ancestors and a uterus tree where women will gather on the full moon to connect their cycles and many other beautiful and comforting spaces. We were able make some traditional food Including homemade tortillas chicken potatoes and Kumbucha. After our experience there, we went back to our current hotel for some downtime. During that time we had a little spa consisting of cucumbers, nails, and charcoal masks (also a medium sized bowl grapes). Then we had a night tour and saw many ants. And we also saw sloths snakes monkeys and birds up in the trees which were a lot cooler than the ants. Then we had a great dinner at a restaurant in town and are winding down for another exciting day in Monteverde !!!!

– Shannon and Ayla

July 25, 2023

Hi everyone this is Ally and Connor. The trip is coming to an end and we are very sad that it is almost over. Today was awesome!! We woke up and had some amazing pancakes and then headed back to the house that we were at at yesterday and learn more about alternative medicinal practices. We also learned about the importance of bees and other pollinators. We ate a delicious lunch that included rice and salad with rosemary bread. We ended the afternoon with a closing circle and choose candles that called out to us. Later in the afternoon we split up and did some yoga and went on a beautiful hike. The yoga was very relaxing and it felt so good to be active and in tune with our bodies and emotions. The other half of the group went on a hike. We went with a guide who pointed out many animals and plants that are unique to Costa. He found a unique bird called the Quetzal and he said we were very lucky to see it. After both groups finished we came back to the hotel and to close out our two weeks of learning the tour guide from the hike group came and talked to us about his experiences about medicine in Costa Rica. After that talk we as a group went to a scrumptious dinner and fine dined with friends. Tonight we are packing for a long 7-hour car ride tomorrow and are off to the beach. We are very excited to start this next stage of our trip but we are also said this is coming to a close.

– Ally and Connor

July 26, 2023

Hi everyone! This is Bea and Nico reporting live from Uvita. Today we began the fourth section of our trip by leaving Monteverde and driving 7 hours to Uvita. The car ride was boring but the group made a playlist shortly before leaving, which made the ride a little better. After 3 hours in we stopped for lunch and souvenirs. When we finally arrived at the hotel, a bunch of us swam in the pool and hung out with our new roommates! After the pool we went to dinner where we ran into two other Global Works groups. After dinner we played charades in Spanish, ate ice cream, and relaxed before heading to bed.

– Bea and Nico

July 27, 2023

Good evening, today was full of surfing fun and talents. We started out by going to breakfast down the road, we had waffles, eggs, rice and beans. We also saw another Global Works group departing that day. After breakfast we headed to the beach to learn how to surf. We went over safely rules and the basics of getting up on the board. We surfed for two hours, some people encountered sting rays and one shark. Then we had a break, rehydrated, ate and reapplied sunscreens. We ate watermelon and small bananas, very yummy. We headed back out for another 45 minutes of surfing then returned back to the hotel. After spending some time at our hotel we headed back down the road for lunch. After lunch we returned for hotel for free time, then headed back to the beach for the sunset and some swimming, it was gorgeous. After the beach, everyone got ready for dinner. After dinner the fun began!! We had a talent show that was filled with lots of laughs. Then went over the plans for tomorrow, everyone is very excited for more surfing and laughs.
-Stella and Nick

July 28, 2023

Hey today this is Shannon and Ally. Writing from osa. Today we woke up and went on a hike to a waterfall that was really pretty. After that we came back for some amazing lunch and swam by the pool for a bit. Finally we got to surf day 2 and learn how to turn. Followed by a breathtaking sunset. We took a lot of great photos and enjoyed our last moments together. After the sunset surf we headed over to a restaurant and ate amazing chimichangas and enchiladas. We are all so sad that tomorrow is our last day.

-Shannon and Ally