Sunday, March 8, 2015

Our Final Days

We have had an amazing last two days to wrap up our stay in Costa Rica.  

March 6th we visited Alajuela to do a health fair which consisted of house visits to take blood pressures, pass out informational material on illnesses, answer any questions and be there as a listening ear for many individuals who needed someone to talk to. It was incredible to witness how grateful these individuals were to be able to talk to someone about there health, for many this was the first time in years they had received any attention from a health care professional.  It was a life changing experience to be there to help and see the appreciation they had for our presence in the community.  We then wrapped up our day with a tour of the city of Alajuela which was filled with beautiful churches, parks and a museum filled with Costa Rican history.

March 7th we got to experience a whole new side of Costa Rica in Manuel Antonio national park. We had a relaxing day filled with swimming, laying on the beach and hiking.  We got to see many monkeys as well as a suprise stop to see the crocodiles. We saw incredible beaches and views from the park and enjoyed soaking  up the sun on our last day.  We topped off the day by visiting a surf area which was one of our team leaders favorite places.  There we got to watch the sunset while watching the locals surf.  It was a beautiful experience that was enjoyed by all. Lastly we had dinner at a taco bar that was  delicious and very filling. Thoughout this whole trip we have experienced so many unique and incredible things that is hard to imagine we are already leaving today, at least we can leave knowing we have impacted the community for the better and used our knowledge to help as many people as possible throughout our stay.

Rhiannon  LaPlante

Friday, March 6, 2015

El joven y el viejo

Yesterday we visited La Posada de Belen in the morning. This is a home where at risk young women, in their teens, are able to receive an education while caring for their young children. We first got a tour of the facility and then split up into groups to play with all of the children. This facility allows these young girls, who have experienced some kind of trauma, to learn skills necessary to care for themselves and their children while placing an emphasis on the importance of receiving an education. The girls were excited to interact with us and asked for advice in their educational endeavors. The 2 pieces of advice given were things that I think we can all learn from; "All flowers grow from dirt" and "education is one of the only things that no one can take away from you". They proceeded to sing us a song, which provoked mixed emotions for many of the different team members. Multiple times tears were brought to our teams eyes as we reflected on the power and importance of family, education, support and hope.

In the afternoon we spent time in an elderly care day program. We spent time taking their vital signs, doing physical assessments and listening to their stories. Our presence brought, not only help to the nurses, but numerous smiles to the residents faces. Even though we were not able to communicate verbally, we were able to create and build relationships. This was a friendly reminder that you don't need to be able to speak to convey empathy and compassion.

We finished the day off with a great group dinner at a Colombian restaurant. The ride home brought a sense of unity. An English song came on the radio and everyone started singing and laughing. There wasn't a single person who didn't have a smile on their face, even our team leaders from Costa Rica and the bus driver. It was a huge milestone to see everyone interacting as one, honestly enjoying the moment and creating memories.
-Allie Hammond

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Proverbs 3:27

We woke this morning to the sound of strong winds and singing birds. Tita had our breakfast ready early this morning. We were off to the clinic in Guarari soon after. Dr. Vargas told us about how the newest generation of women are gaining equality in society. Costa Rica has many aspects of their society that we should aspire to. The are environmentally conscious and peaceful.

The women who are studying to become physicians are currently out numbering men at the universities. The reasoning behind this transition was explained as women being able to share empathy with the patients. As nurses we understand the need to show empathy.

Our patients have made a significant impact on our lives. We try to make the greatest improvements in each patient's life even though we only have a short amount time to spend with them. We are able to perform our assessments and initiate a small amount of teaching with each encounter. The doctors understand the limited access that the patients in the clinics have to healthcare. They explained many holistic measures patients can take to help with their medical issues as part of their treatment. The amount we learn from each patient is so much more. They teach us to appreciate our lives, as they are so precious.

We focus so strongly on our goals in life. If one small thing takes us off of our course, it puts us in distress. We are learning to live life in the present and to let the moments that we experience help guide us in our journeys.

We do not just provide medications, we provide hope and care. We are spiritual servants. We are here to help, this is meaningful.
Our night was full of pride and emotion as we each shared the highest point of the day, the lowest point of the day, and what we are looking forward to. Moments experienced on this trip have different meanings for each of us. We are enjoying our time in the communities and we are looking forward to the experiences that lie ahead.
bueños noches family and friends.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Clinica gratis!

Our day started with breakfast and coffee and an excited group, ready to start our journey in Guarari. We did house visits and a community clinic all day and saw a variety of patients. Going into the day, we were all energized and eager to see what the day would bring! We met our translators, one of the doctors (whom we didn't get to meet yesterday), our pharmacist and many people in the Guarari community. For most of us, it was an eye opening experience to walk through the community and see living conditions that we are not accustomed to. Community members found much pride in small things and were incredibly grateful that we were there to serve them.

At the end of the day we were all exhausted, but left with full hearts nonetheless. We are learning invaluable things about nursing, our world and ourselves. We have talked a lot in the past day about humanity, and how we are really a lot alike the people we are serving. We share the same desires, hopes, dreams, needs and worries and that is something that automatically relates us to each other. As the day closed and we traveled back to our hotel, we were able to reflect on the events of our day and think about the things we take for granted everyday. We came back to our hotel and had a pharmacology presentation done by Dr. Andrea, so that we are prepared to assist in diagnosis and treatment tomorrow.

For dinner, we went to an authentic Costa Rican restaurant. We had delicious meals and everyone was extremely satisfied. Nilda got her tamales, too :-) The restaurant served us rice pudding for dessert, free of charge, which was incredibly generous of them. We took pictures with our team leaders and the people serving us at the restaurant, and it was definitely a fun way to end the day.

-Allison Scully

Jonathan, Sarah F., Erin, Jenna and Nilda
The group at dinner
Mary, Connor, Delaney and their group's translator
Everyone ready for the pharmacology presentation

Sunset tonight

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Getting Ready!

 Hola, everyone!

Today we were oriented to the country as well as with one of the Doctors we will be working with for the next few days! We had a long, interactive presentation on what the next couple days consist of, such as:
  1. House calls and clinic set-up tomorrow! (We've been practicing medical Spanish and pronunciation all day)
  2. Clinics on Tuesday! (Today was full of practicing the clinical history and physical exams for when we are in our triage units)
  3. And plenty more! 
 After perfecting our skills and expanding our nursing knowledge, we continued on to sort and distribute all of our medical supplies that were generously donated by many! (So a BIG thank you to all!!)

 And to wrap things up, we ended the night by walking a few blocks to a restaurant that served delicious food. Our ISL team leader is so incredibly helpful in everything we do, especially helping us with proper translation.

We're off to bed for an early, yet eventful day tomorrow!

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act"

Saturday, February 28, 2015

We made it!

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica! After a long day of travel we have arrived at La Dehesa Hotel in San José. Our ISL liaisons have been nothing but courteous and friendly. We are surely in good hands.

We're off to bed for the night and will update with more pictures tomorrow after our general orientation.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This year's service learning trip

For the first time since the University of Maine began partnering with International Service Learning, UMaine Nursing International will be going to Costa Rica! From February 28th to March 8th, UMNI will be performing house clinics, community health surveys, and village triage in different areas and towns across the country. We are so excited for this opportunity and will keep you posted on updates and ways for you to get involved or donate to support our cause. Check back here to stay up-to-date on our trip!