This week we played "Spin the Bottle" in Spanish known as "Gire la Botella" with questions and facts related to alcohol use and abuse. This brings me to one major learning point that I realized this week: it is hard and almost impossible to teach or explain to a person or group of people that they cannot or must not do a certain behavior. We were reminded by many of the people we work with that these women come from families where drinking alcohol or smoking is just what they do. What is important is that we remember to focus our efforts on moderation and reminders of the affects instead of preaching "Do Not Do ___" or "You must completely quit___".
The location of the forest being at such a high altitude (4,662 ft above sea level to be exact) allows it to be high enough to have clouds and moisture-filled fog permeating throughout the forest at all times. We learned that this helps nourish the ecosystem that live within the forest and sustain all life in it.
Costa Ricans pride themselves on living in a country that puts so much money, energy, and time into preserving aspects of the country's natural beautiful. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is looked at largely as a tourist attraction, but little is done to alter the reserve and there are many native Costa Ricans who come to visit the forest, in addition to the medley of Europeans, Americans, and South Americans of course.
Working at the clinic during the week and doing talks with the ladies at the soup kitchen gives us the chance to learn directly from the people of here on a close and personal basis. We get snippets of the way that so many people's lives work on a day-to-day basis and how they handle things that are thrown at them and can add confusion and complexity to their daily routine and especially their health. The weekends are nice for us to explore the country when we can, and reflect on the stories and situations we have been involved in that week. We get to learn more about Costa Rica and the history people that reside in this country but we also get to see the dynamics of Costa Rican life and culture in a non-acute setting.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post!