EWH Summer 2011 - Central America Blog
Here is how my first weekend went :)

Usually on Fridays, the group splits into 2 and spends the usual 8 hours of class in the Hospital in Costa Rica. This Friday, we instead had our "Medical Equipment in Developing Worlds" lecture and lab. The lecture usually last only about an hour, but our lecturer had not made it to Costa Rica yet. JJ (our On-the-ground-Coordinate) did the lecture and James and JJ hosted the lab as well. We built an extension cord which works perfectly (yay for Lea and I being awesome Engineers). Since we ended the day early, a group of us went wandering around the city, at least the area we were approved to go to. Gladys gave us a map and pin-pointed dangerous areas that she highly suggested we do not go to, and trust me when I say EVERYONE took her advice. We ate at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant but the food was muy bueno! The food here is great and my stomach can appreciate the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables. We went to San Pedro Mall and walked around a little bit then headed home. In our house, the host family consists of Zadie and her 2 daughters (around our age but older) then Emily and Robert, a couple of students from another program, and 6 (including myself) girls from the EWH program. This is full but awesome! It's like a little family :) we all sit for breakfast and dinner together.
Once we got home Friday evening. Emily and Robert took us to the corner bakery nearby for the BEST sweet bread ever! It is so good and the food is cheap, but don't let the prices fool you! You will over spend in a heartbeat! (unfortunately I'm finding this out now). We enjoyed our "family" time then had to go to bed. We had rafting planned for all day Saturday but had to be at the school at 6:30 am! Because we live the farthest away from the school, we had to be up very early in order to catch the bus to make it on time (so we thought). During the regular week, it takes about 45 minutes to make it to class leaving the house at 6:50am, BUT since it was a weekend, we left the house at 5 ish and made it to the school very very early!

We all woke up at 4:30 am and left the house around 5. Thinking we would make it on time, we left very early prepared for a a long bus ride. We made it to the school in 15 minutes and had plenty of time to walk around and enjoy the morning. Once everyone arrived at the school and all the buses were loaded, we left for our 2 1/2 hour bus ride. Rafting was in an area close to the city of Limon(Lee-moan), but we stopped along the way for breakfast. The breakfast lodge was beautiful! I fell asleep on the way there but when I woke up, we were high in the mountains looking down at farm lands, plants, clouds, and a beautiful scenic backdrop. The breakfast was wonderful (traditional rice and beans with eggs, toast, and coffee) and it was a nice place to sit and enjoy the view (check out the photos). We then continued for another 1 1/2 hours to the rapids. We drove down down down down into the mountain side with winding roads and just trees covering the sides of the streets. We saw coffee plantations, banana trees, pineapple trees, and livestock on the way. We knew we were getting close to our destination when the smooth road quickly became rocky, bumpy road. Unfortunately, my stomach was not too happy about this but I did not end up getting sick (thank goodness!). When we made it to the rapids, we paired up with someone from EWH that we haven't gotten to know very well and made a raft of at least 4-6 people. We were given the "laws of rafting" (more like instructions) and what the calls the guide (the one steering the raft from the back) would be calling for us to do.
So it was 3 girls and 3 guys in our raft and our guide. It was a slow start but once we got to the area of intense water, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! Paddling became difficult but it was such an adrenaline rush! Almost fell out of the raft, but luckily I hung on very very tight. One of the girls from our raft fell off but we got her back :). We were told we would be rafting for 4 hours, approximately 18 kilometers. There was a point where we could opt to ride in the front of the raft hanging on with our feet hanging in the front! I wanted to "ride the bull" through the rapids but as soon as we hit the first bump, I fell back and had my feet in the air and could not get up! FAIL!  We took a break after 2 hours and pulled off the rapids and turned over our raft to have lunch. We had fresh everything! Homemade bread, fresh fruit, avocado, peppers, cheese, meat, lettuce, and even coconut candy! It was a very refreshing lunch. The sand was very muddy and occasionally I felt I was going to lose my shoe in the mists of it. After lunch, it was kind of a slow start especially with a full stomach but once the rapids starting going, we had to definitely muster back our energy. THE BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE TRIP (besides having a really fun guide who always made us not take the "chicken route" through the rapids) was the fact that our guide took us to a spot where we climbed up the rocks and jumped from over 15 feet into the river! It was so thrilling! We then just floated a mile upstream and then finished off our rafting expedition.  The view was beautiful! Looking at the forest around us and all of the beautiful trees, plants and birds. We finished our trip with drinks and relaxation and drove back to the city to go home.

Everyone in our house (me, Liz, Anjuli, Mindy, Caitlin, Leah, Emily y Robert) went to the local Farmers Market to buy fresh fruitas and vegetables so we could make our lunch everyday instead of having to spend money on lunch in town. The area was covered with vendors and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. I enjoyed fresh coconut water and genips as we bought tomatoes, avocados, mangos, and bananas. We also stopped and ate lunch at the farmer's market (yumyum) and then were headed to the multi-plaza to get Liz's Mac fixed and pick up some things we needed. Both Caitilin and I were EXHAUSTED  and just honestly wanted to go back to our homestay and take a nap. We usually take a certain bus to get into town, school and home but since the Farmer's Market was in a different location unknown to us, Emily and Robert were our guides for the day. Unfortunately between the two of us, we didn't pay attention to landmarks on the way there that would assist us BUT Robert gave us instructions on how to get there and we were set.
Unexpected Adventure
First, we leave the mall realizing neither one of us has a key, so we went back into the mall and got a key (remind you we are both dead tired before this even starts). Then we get on the bus, I ask if the bus takes us to "la isglesia de curridubat" and he said we needed to get on the bus headed in the other direction. We get off (without getting my money back) and head to the other side of the street where the bus would be in the opposite direction. We grabbed the bus but noticed it cost TWICE AS MUCH as it did (that should've been our first clue). We get on, sit and look out for the stop at the church and soon realize, we were on the highway leaving the city completely! We then stopped the bus but it was already too late, we were further down the highway and the only stop was ON THE HIGHWAY. We get off and start heading back towards a WalMart we past that we knew was where the other half of the group would be stopping. Thinking it was closer by, we walk on the shoulder of the highway for 2 HOURS, getting close to being ran down by Buses who really don't seem to understand the lane marker concepts. We finally made it to the Walmart, realized that we only made it "so far" and caved into getting a cab. We did make it home safe but it was bound to happen that I would get lost at least once. It was still a story to tell the group at home ;).

This was my weekend.

Leave a Reply.