Day 1: Saturday, July 9, 2011
Today we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around 1pm. The group of us that were on the same flight met our VIDA guide and Dr. Bennett outside the airport shortly after getting our bags from baggage claim. Our guides name is Giovanni, and he seems like a friendly guy. The weather was beautifully sunny, but it started to get a little warm standing outside waiting for our bus. We had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus to pick us up, during which time we found out Dr. Bennett's bags hadn't made it with him on the flight because his flights got changed. We all felt kind of bad, and I could personally relate after having been without my bags for a week on the last international trip I went on.
Day 2: July 10, 2011
After an exhausting day of traveling and a long night of sleep I woke up in San Jose, Costa Rica excited to see what VIDA had in store for us. We started our day with breakfast at the local Denny's which offered us food like gallo pinto, a popular breakfast dish made of beans and rice. After breakfast, we met with another VIDA group from the University of Arizona for our orientation. The feeling in the room seemed to be that of apprehension and eagerness, we were all unsure of what to expect. Right away we began to learn about what our clinic days would be like and what we should all expect from this trip. We learned how the clinics would be set up and that our days would be long and sometimes challenging, but always rewarding. VIDA explained to us that each clinic location would be different and that they could range from being outdoors with dirt floors or indoors but that each location would be very different than what we were accustomed to in the United States.
Day 3: Monday, July 11, 2011- First Clinic Day in Cartago
OMG TODAY WAS THE GREATEST DAY EVERRRRR.
That was not a (big) exaggeration. I did my first surgery ever today and it was so fantastically unimaginably AWESOME. Its like all the work Ive been doing for so long to get here and all the miserable hours Ive spent locked in a windowless room or the library is actually finally sort of starting to seem worth it because Im actually doing something. Its a very accomplished feeling, really.
Day 4: Tuesday , July 12, 2011 - Clinic Day 2
Today was our second day of the small animal clinic in Palomo, Cartago. The clinic was once again set up in the community center with a room for check-in where the clients waited for their turn with their dogs and cats. The larger room was divided up into areas for intake, surgery and recovery. Our group was once again divided into 6 teams.
Day 5: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - Palomo, Cartago, Costa Rica
Today was our third and final clinic day in Cartago. We started off the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, while enjoying the beautiful view of the Orosi Valley and mountains. Following breakfast, we departed for the clinic.
Day 6: Thursday ,July 14, 2011
Today was our break from clinics that we used as a day to travel to Siquirres and for recreation. We started out with our last breakfast at Sanchiri overlooking the beautiful Orosi Valley. Then we headed to the famous Pacuare River for some Whitewater Rafting. We got all ready with our swimsuits, lots of sun block, new Costa Rican Walmart boat shoes, lifejackets, and helmets.
Day 7: Friday, July 15, 2011 - Siquirres, Limn, Costa Rica
We started off the day with a quick breakfast in the cafeteria of Earth University, enjoying various fruits, meats, cheeses, and our favorite staple, gallo pinto (rice and beans). There was much more variety than where we had stayed previously, and local students attending the University also ate in the cafeteria with us. I think we were all still sore from rafting yesterday but ready to jump back into clinics and check out our new clinic site.
Day 8: Saturday, July, 16, 2011
Our last small animal clinic day got off to a bit of a slow start due to a flat tire on our bus. One of the university buses came to drive us to breakfast, and by the time we finished, our bus was all set to get on the road. There was quite a group of people waiting by the time we arrived so we wasted no time in setting up quickly and getting to work right away! By the end of the day we had done 24 surgeries and 62 consults. One memorable consult patient was a puppy who came to us for vaccines and deworming. While examining him Shannon found numerous ticks in his ears. After picking out as many as we could, he was sent home with some of the donated medications we had brought down
Day 10: Monday, July, 18, 2011
Today was a long day of travel. We had out bags loaded on the bus at about 6:45 and left our apartments at Earth University for the last time. The campus was beautiful and full of wildlife. During our stay we saw Cane toads, leaf cutter ants (as well as a variety of insects), lizards, lots of birds, armadillos and even a couple sloths (which I'm told is a rare site in the wild)! In addition to the wildlife, domestic species were on hand such as pigs, horses and roosters.
Day 9: Sunday, July 17, 2011 - Large Animal Day
We got to sleep in an hour later because it was Sunday, although the roosters were unrelenting as always. As it turned out the cafeteria at Earth University opened at 8:30 and not 8 like we originally thought, so we had a half hour to kill. Many of us walked around or took naps, I found myself sitting in these amazing rocking chairs with great leather detailing and reading Storm of Swords, the 3rd installment of George R. R. Martins Song of Ice and Fire series. I took to screaming out Game of Thrones often during our trip. Breakfast was good, they had whole halves of avocados that were available, mixed with the gallo pinto was refreshing and delicious.