Thank you so much for taking time to look at our blog! We are a group of edical students who are passionate about training and in underserved areas. This January and February, we are in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica internationally as well as locally in Flint and Lansing completing volunteer service, rotating in hospitals and clinics, and learning about international medicine and local underserved health care. We appreciate any time you take to read our reflections and any donations you might offer.

Please click the “Donate” link on the side for more details on how to give directly to these communities.

Monday, January 19

Hola de Costa Rica!

Hello everyone! Jen, Serena, Sara, Joyce, and I successfully made it to Costa Rica with our 240 pounds worth of donations! We got in around 1:30 on Saturday morning. Saturday was spent getting to know our host families. I live with a host family that includes my host mom, dad, two "host brothers," and last but not least my host dog Collie. Like many of the host families, my family speaks limited English, so our group is fully immersed in the Spanish language. I already feel much more comfortable with the language. On Sunday one of our host dads offered to take us on a nearby hike up a mountain. The hike was strenuous but beautiful! After that we went to a charity soccer game. We learned about the local teams which will no doubt come in handy when talking to patients in clinic!

Our first day at the clinic was very fun. The staff consists of a doctor, psychologist, director, and a housekeeper. We got oriented in the morning and got right to work! A huge task was organizing the existing pharmacy and making room for the 6 luggages full of donations we brought from the United States! The clinic was running very low on many supplies, especially vitamins for underweight children, so we thank you once again for helping us gather supplies for this clinic!

Once we unloaded everything, we organized the pharmacy so medications were easier to find. This is one half of the pharmacy before:
And after with our additions:

We spend our time in the morning either seeing patients with the doctor or psychologist, running the pharmacy and explaining medications to patients, and doing patient intake. Many of the clinic's patients are Nicaraguan immigrants that come to Costa Rica so their kids can take advantage of the public health care and school systems. However, many of the mothers do not get this health care, and many others feel discriminated against when going to other physicians. Dra. Natalia told us that they are also scared of going to other physicians for fear of them calling the police. For these reasons they come to FIMRC's clinic with their children to get treatment. In addition to this discrimination, many Nicaraguans live in slums surrounding the clinic. Many family members live in crowded shacks with little access to clean, filtered water, creating a great environment for the spread of infections. The area is also quite dirty and dusty leading to a lot of allergies and asthma in kids. Drugs and violence are commonplace in the area of the clinic as well.

Here are some pictures of clinic! The first is a picture of the only snow we will see for 2 months. The second is our exam room, and the third is a photo of chalk drawings of the characters in frozen drawn by a patient. She even taught us how to sing let it go in Spanish!

In the afternoon us 5 have been working with Dra. Natalia on her project. Dra. Natalia came up with a survey that addresses various risk factors and conditions of the clinic's population. We are currently adding up the results and anazlying them. We are hoping to use this information to determine what ailments are plaguing the population, what the risk factors are for these ailments, and how we can respond. Hopefully we can plan some education sessions to address these problems. Our group is pretty diverse with 2 going into family medicine, 2 into pediatrics, and 1 into OBGYN, so with our combined perspectives we ought to come up with a great idea!

This weekend, we went to a national park called Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast. The beaches were absolutely beautiful, and the forest housed many fun animals like monkeys and slothes. The monkeys were eating their dinner 5 feet away from our own dinner table! We won't crowd this post with all of our pictures, but here is one of all of us taking in the beauty.

We are really looking forward to getting to know our population more and working with the staff to come with long-lasting ideas and how to improve on existing projects. We will also be going to an indigenous island called Isla Chira at the end of the month to provide a week of medical services to this rural population. It will be a great learning experience!

That's all for now from Costa Rica! Pura Vida!

Angie, Jen, Sara, Joyce, Serena

1 comment:

  1. Angie (and friends) - so excited to read about your time in Costa Rica. Pura vida!