While in Costa Rica, I worked at a clinic with one other nurse and one to two doctors. Daily we would see anywhere from 25-30 patients.
What I enjoyed the most on this trip was working with girls from a ministry called Refugio. This ministry is in a slum called La Carpio where 99% of the women are raped or sexually assaulted by the age of six. While there I was able to listen to, pray with, and get to know these girls. Being able to support and show love to such a hurt group of girls was a blessing to me.
What I enjoyed the least was hearing the stories of La Carpio such as the babies sleep in sugar sacks that are hung from the ceiling so that the rats don’t eat them. I just can’t imagine having to live that way. It was very hard to hear such a thing be true.
The cultural differences I observed were the happiness in Costa Rica. The happiness that this culture had was so contagious. These people are people who have essentially nothing and are happy with what they have. In the Costa Rican culture it is customary for families to always be together and eat every meal together. I enjoyed this aspect because it made every day more fun and exciting.
A memorable moment to me is when the girls from the refuge and I had a mud fight. These girls have to grow up so fast and their childhood is stolen from them and being able to play with them took away all of their worries for the time being. One of the girls gave me a coffee mug with our picture on it afterwards. I know that it was a sacrifice for her because they barely have enough money to live off of. Another memorable moment was teaching a fifteen year old how to add and subtract. This particular boy never had the opportunity to go to school so he attends a tutoring program in La Carpio ran by Christ for the City International. Seeing him progress and actually understand the math was very exciting for me.
While on this trip, I translated for an American doctor and was able to better my Spanish medical terminology. I enjoyed working with Dr. Elizabeth because I was able to observe the different treatments for the diseases that I’m not used to seeing in Illinois. Since the clinic in La Carpio is operated mostly from donations, many times we had to work with what we had and be creative with our supplies. I learned to adapt to a new environment and be ready for any situation that would come through the front door.
I would just like to thank ONAAT for the scholarship I received. I was able to change the lives of many people in the one month that I spent there. I hope to return to Costa Rica whenever God provides.
By: Ashley Basurto