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

July 14, 2021

Today we woke up to breakfast at Casa Cielo Grande. We had rice and beans, eggs and toast with really good coffee. We ate outside with a view of San José and the surrounding towns because the house is on the side of a hill overlooking the city. After breakfast we all got to know each other and played card games. We explored around the property and found some really pretty flowers and fresh lime trees.

We then ate lunch by the pool. It was rice and beans, cerdo, plátanos, and fresh passionfruit juice. Then we had a Spanish lesson from Lauren where we learned about conjugating and Costa Rican slang. We played volleyball in the grassy area by the house and then we headed out to dinner in downtown Alajuela. It was an artisan burger restaurant that was really good with some sauces that we could not identify.

Then we went back to the house and played charades!! We all got to know each other a lot better today and had a great time learning more about Costa Rica and everything that we will experience and get out of our trip! ¡Buenas noches!

~ Maggie V.

July 15, 2021

We woke up early for pancakes and eggs before Dr. Hernández shared her experiences working in the health field in a variety of countries. She taught us about health being a basic human right and how us finding our voices to advocate for ourselves and others is important. The morning was pretty relaxed and ended with spaghetti for lunch.

We took our bus to a coffee plantation called Doka. After a great tour of the coffee bean factory, we got to see a beautiful butterfly garden. After the bus ride back to the lodge, we went straight outside to learn and practice sutures and injections. Don’t worry we didn’t cut anyone open, we practiced on sponges and oranges with grape Fanta. We thought that was fun and exciting, but we had no idea what we were in for with Zumba class.

Zumba was full of energy and laughter. It was a great workout and left all of us ready for dinner and then bed. We watched a beautiful lightening storm while eating and all were ready for a good night of rest.

-Cami H.

July 16, 2021
We started today off with rice and beans, eggs, pineapple, and coffee cake for breakfast. Afterwards, Dr. Hernández came in again to speak with us. She spoke further on the healthcare systems in Costa  Rica and the United States, as well as shared more of her own experiences.

After hearing from the Doctor, we played cards and got ready for lunch. We had potatoes, black beans, salad, and plantains. Once lunch was over we went down to spend time at the pool. Right afterwards we split in to groups to practice our Spanish. In one group, we did this by playing two truths and a lie and never have I ever. The other group discussed likes and dislikes.

In the evening, we walked down a few blocks to a pizza restaurant for dinner. There we had different variations of pizza in addition to trying a green apple iced tea. Once back at the hotel, we had a yoga class taught by Fernando. During the class we learned different poses and even tried a headstand.

Adiós y buenas noches!

– Saffron B.

July 17, 2021

Today the group woke up to a sunny Saturday morning and to a breakfast of pancakes and eggs. After breakfast, Dr. Andrés came and gave an interesting demonstration on physical therapy. Nadia and Xavier volunteered and were treated by Sophia. After the talk, we took the bus to our next location in the mountains. Halfway through, we stopped for lunch at El Jardin for a healthy lunch. When we finished lunch, the group went souvenir shopping and then back to the bus for the rest of the trip. We arrived at Heliconias and settled into our new bungalows. We all celebrated Lucas’s 15th birthday with a dinner of fish and rice followed by a delicious chocolate cake for dessert.

July 18, 2021
Today, we had a bright and early wake up at 7 am. We proceeded to eat some American style cuisine for breakfast including turkey bacon, eggs, and toast.

After, we gathered on to the bus and headed to a natural and organic farm. There, we got muddy! We first saw some chickens and a very cute dog. Then we went on a small hike through the muddy and humid rainforest. It was beautiful. We then walked through a maracuya (passionfruit) vineyard. We also saw some sap light on fire and a plant nursery.

We ate lunch made with the organic produce. It was delicious. After we went back to the hotel and it started pouring and a couple of us went swimming in the rain. Others took some cute pictures. Then we had a intelligence seminar where we learned different types of intelligence. Lastly, we had some Costa Rican dinner and played some soccer and cards in the rain.

Shoutout to Stephen D. and Leslie A. miss you guys!!
– Hannah D. (honorable mention to Anya McC. and Emma W.)

July 19, 2021

Today we started our morning at 7:30am and headed to breakfast at 8:00am. There, we enjoyed some delicious pancakes served with a side of syrup. After our stomachs were full, we hopped on the bus and headed to a local cheese farm. Under the guidance of Chrisley, we learned all about his journey in producing cheese and the process of making it. We even got to roll our own balls of fresh mozzarella! After enjoying a delicious lunch that included some delicacies like fried cheese, we headed to a local supermarket to purchase some snacks for the rest of the trip! Then it was back to our hotel!

Upon arrival, we dove straight into the first session of our 16hr-long Wilderness First Aid course. Today’s session focused specifically on CPR (on adults, children, and infants). We practiced these life-saving techniques on mannequins and then took a written assessment to officially earn our CPR certification. We all passed with flying colors!

We finished off the day with a quick swim in the pool, some cute pictures, and a delicious spaghetti dinner!

Can’t wait for the rest of the trip! Lastly, if you are reading this mom and dad, I miss y’all and love y’all (Emma <3)

– Emma W.

July 20, 2021

We started our day today with sunrise yoga at 5:15 to relax before a busy day. After yoga, many of us went back to sleep until breakfast at 8:00. After breakfast, we walked to our second day of Wilderness First Aid training. Today we focused on many different things including splinting, cuts, spinal injuries, and a lot more. We started at 9:00 and went until a break for lunch at 12:00. After lunch, we went back to training until 3:00, which involved carrying some of us around on backboards to simulate spinal injuries.

After this, we had some free time until a dance lesson at 5:30. Our instructor’s name was Randall and he taught us a few different types of Latin dance including salsa. We ate dinner at around 7:30, and then had some time to chat before some of us went frog hunting at 9:00. After a long day, most of us were tired and relaxed in our rooms before bed.
– Mira B.

July 21, 2021
Hola Amigos :),
Today we started our eventful day with a balanced breakfast of eggs, bacon, and Ella’s amazing skills on the xylophone. After breakfast we begun our last day of our Wilderness First Aid course. It was interesting learning about treating snake bites and preventing other venomous injuries. For our final physical assessment we were given live “emergencies” to test our instincts. It was really funny because my group had to tend to Jorge and his great acting skills. At the end we all passed our written exam with flying colors!

After lunch we suited up to go zip lining at Sky Adventures where we would soar about the rain forest canopy. Even though some of us were scared to go at first, we all left with a smile and a few embarrassing pictures of ourselves screaming!

On our way back to Heliconias Lodge we stopped in La Fortuna plaza to do some souvenirs shopping and eat dinner. We ate at a vegan restaurant called Orgánico. We were all so surprised at how delicious the food was. We let our stomachs rest on our bus ride home and regrouped to discuss the day. As chaotic and physically exhausting as the day was, we all will go to sleep tonight with full stomachs and a real connection to Costa Rica after today.
– Nadia F.

July 22, 2021
Today we had a sleep in…until 8:30. We had breakfast at 9 appropriately called “American style” which is bacon, eggs, and toast. Some of us went on a hike with Jorge and a group went to see a sloth with Lauren.

Right after lunch we went to an animal rehabilitation center where we saw tucans, macaws, monkeys, and more. We learned about why the animals were at the rehabilitation place and how some will be released and others will have to remain there for life. After we learned about all the different animals situations we headed back to the main room and started making food for the animals. It was really interesting making the different food. We had to partner up and each pair received a sheet telling us how much of each type of food they would get. These foods consisted of bananas, papaya, hard boiled egg, carrots, and watermelon. We then distributed the food evenly to the animals and watched them enjoy. After feeding the animals we headed back to the hotel for some downtime before dinner. Shoutout to Kaiser, Henry, Janine and Rob!! Miss you all.
Sophia LaG.

July 23, 2021
Today we woke up bright and early (8:00 am) to the rain. We had pancakes and syrup for breakfast and then headed back to our bungalow rooms to get our stuff together for the bus to Monteverde. We were on the bus all morning (plus some time into the afternoon). Some people learned how to make bracelets during this time, others talked, and some slept. We drove very far up into the mountains – so much so that we are now at the elevation that clouds begin to form, so although it always seems foggy outside, really, it is just clouds forming.
We arrived in Monteverde and stopped at what looked like a tree house restaurant. We had a really yummy lunch and then walked around the little town and walked into gift shops, coffee shops, and even some art galleries. After we wandered around for about an hour, we all met back at the bus and headed to our new home for the next 3 nights.
Once we arrived, we all settled in and had some chill time. A lot of people played cards, and then most of us hung out together in one of the rooms and had a good time. At 7:30 we headed to a local restaurant for dinner. We had a very healthy and fulfilling dinner there (lots of smoothies, salads, and more), and then headed back to the hotel where we are now. We are having so much fun!
P. S. Miss you mommy
~ Anya McC.

July 24, 2021
After an early wake up call at 7:00 AM, we had our first breakfast at the new hotel cooked by the owner himself. Once we finished a traditional Costa Rican breakfast of eggs, rice, beans, and toast, we were off to visit María José, a biologist who works with medicinal plants. After a presentation on the origin and uses of alternative medicine, Maria explained how to create our own tincture or flower essence to bring home with us. Some of the plants we utilized included Juanilama, Saragundi, and Lavender. Juanilama not only has a strong, lemony aroma but also is traditionally used to cure high cholesterol, eliminate fat from the body, and ease digestion. Saragundi can be used to treat fungal infection and wounds, relax the mind, and help with infertility. After making our tinctures and flower essences, we ate lunch across the street at a farmers market pavilion and headed back home. We then went into town to explore the different stores and finished with smoothies and a good view. Some of the group went on a night hike and saw many different insects, frogs, and snakes that are native to Costa Rica. We ended the night with games while waiting for a sushi chef to prepare a delicious dinner for the group in the hotel kitchen. The night was finished on full stomachs with new information about alternative medicine! (Shoutout Mom and Dad I love and miss y’all so much!!)

-Ella M.

July 25, 2021

Our Global Works family began our day learning from Anna, an alternative medicine specialist. She gave us an in-depth tour around her botanical gardens and treated us with a home cooked lunch. My favorite part was when we practiced meditational yoga with her and her pets. Anna also taught us about the feminine connection to the moon, understanding our chakras, and reflexology. One of her lessons I’ll carry on with me is how we can use common garden plants and herbs to heal ourselves and address illnesses at the source instead of the symptom. After our morning at her house she gave us homemade incense made with her own herbs for us to take home as souveniers.
Afterwards, we went on a hike in Santa Elena cloud forest Reserve. When we looked up at the rainforest canopy Jorge pointed out various plants and animals, including monkeys, that we’d never seen before. I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s attempt to communicate with the monkeys.
We finished off our day with card games and a quick nap before heading to dinner at a local restaurant called Morphos. I love our community because at any given moment you could look at our group during a meal and see everyone laughing and smiling. Tomorrow we’re packing up and driving down to Uvita beach where we’ll enjoy surfing lessons and some much needed sun!

– Ella H.

July 26, 2021
Today started off bright and early. Alarms were going off at 6 and by 6:30, everyone was loaded onto the bus and we were on our way down the mountain from Monteverde. We stopped for breakfast at El Jardín. We made good time and arrived at the beach by around noon. We left our stuff at the hotel and went to the beach for a quick swim. Then we walked to a “TexMex” restaurant and enjoyed a hearty lunch.  Afterwards we settled into our rooms and rested for a couple hours. Then before dinner, we had a group meeting where everyone reflected on their trips and comparing their expectations to reality. Then everyone walked to dinner where pasta was served along with large bottles of soda and lemonade. Then we all went back to the rooms to get a good nights sleep knowing that surfing was in the next day’s plans.
– Andy U.

July 27, 2021
The day started off at 8:00 AM with a breakfast option of cereal, eggs, rice & beans, and fruits. After breakfast we changed for our 9:30 AM surf lesson. We headed down to the beach and made sure to apply sunscreen as it was very hot and sunny outside. At the beach we were all split into three groups each with an instructor to teach us how to surf! Some of us had previous experience while for some of us it was our first time, nevertheless everybody had a good time. Personally, I am very happy with the progress I made today and can’t wait to hopefully surf again soon! After surfing we went back to the hotel to prepare for lunch, and for today’s lunch we as a group decided to dress up in our nice and formal clothes. We went to a very nice restaurant overlooking the beautiful beach, the food there was amazing! After lunch we went back to the hotel and we had rest before 7:00 PM dinner at the hotel! For food there was chicken, beef, rice, corn, and salad! Overall we all had a great and amazing day, and it seemed like a very fitting way to wrap up the trip!

Lucas K.