Monday, July 9, 2012

First Day at the Clinic!

I woke up to shower at 7am and then Rachel and I had breakfast at the hotel. Toast with guava jam, sausage, rice, black beans, and papaya juice. I love the tropical cuisine! We got ready for the day and changed into our scrubs. I chose the blue ones. We left the hotel at 8:30am to go to a nursing home called Hogar Manos de Jesus (The Hands of Jesus) in Alajuela. It was a 40 min drive and we got to see a little of the countryside. It was beautiful, you could see the misty clouds slowly drift down over the lush mountains and over the small cliff towns. We gathered everyone into the therapy room and played a game of hot potato to do introductions. The "potato" landed on me first, so I had to stand in front of about 40 people and introduce myself in Spanish! Luckily, I had rehearsed an introduction for myself all last week. I said "Mi nombre es Samantha. He estado en Costa Rica una vez antes de. Tengo familia aqui en Costa Rica. Ellos viven en San Francisco." (My name is Samantha. I have been to Costa Rica once before. I have family here in Costa Rica. They live in San Francisco.) Then the rest of the intro I totally hacked because I wasn't prepared to say my age or if I had a boyfriend (the old men wanted to know, they were very funny), so in horrible Spanish I said, "Mi cuando es dos dos. Mi hablo el novio Christopher". (My how much is two two. I speak the boyfriend Christopher.) Luckily, the guides translated to tell them that I was 22 years old and I had a boyfriend named Christopher. Despite my lack of Spanish, I'm surprised at how much I can actually communicate what I taught myself last week, along with how much I'm picking up since I got here. I've already picked up on more Spanish in 2 days than I did with Italian in 2.5 months. Anyway, the old men were hilarious--every time a girl said she had a boyfriend they'd be like, "Oh, man!" You had to be there. The old folks introduced themselves, as well. This one little old lady named Lily absolutely loved me--all she wanted to do the whole time was hold my hand and smile--she was a such a sweetheart. I don't think she was entirely "all there" but I let her talk to me in Spanish all day. At one point I think she was trying to teach me how to garden. When we played the introductions game and another old person in the home had just given their introduction, she would whisper secrets about them in my ear. I couldn't understand her, but she was very amusing! We also played a game where we danced around with them--Lily and I were a hit. We were shakin' and gettin' down more than anyone else on the floor--it was a lot of fun :) we also played dominos with them for a little bit, and helped feed the ones who couldn't feed themselves during their lunch time. We eventually left for our own lunch--ISL has a house nearby where a lady cooks the lunches for us. Lunch was good there as well. We stopped at a bank to exchange our money--Costa Rican money is so awesome!!! We also stopped at these old ruins of the Santiago Catholic church. It reminded me of Italy. There were also these vibrantly painted bird sculptures all over the premises that were really pretty. In the afternoon, we helped measure out the dimensions of the wheelchairs  for some of the patients who needed alterations to their wheelchairs. My group was assigned to Ofelia. She needed a pelvic support using a Theraband that would prevent her from slouching in the wheelchair. Her foot pedals also needed alterations so she would have proper posture in the chair. After each group finished their evaluations, we went to a materials shop to buy the materials we needed for the alterations. I snapped some more pretty photos of the misty mountains/volcanoes on the way back to the hotel. We went out to dinner at a restaurant down the street. Our guide chose the place. I got a strawberry shake and a Lorenzo sandwich--black refried beans, cheese, ham, roast beef, lettuce and tomato. It gets pitch black in Costa Rica as early as 5:30pm--so it feels really late because I'm used to it getting dark at 10pm in Michigan right now during the summer. On our walk back, we could see heat lightning behind the misty mountains. It's so tropical here! They literally live  surrounded by rainforests and volcanoes, it's awesome. Since I've been back, I've loaded up lots of pictures to Facebook and blogged. I am probably going to read my book now. Buenos noches!

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