Health program in Costa Rica – a volunteer’s testimonial!
The organization we work with in Costa Rica offer many opportunities for volunteers to get first-hand experience in the health sector.
Depending on your level of knowledge, specialization, and skill, you may check blood pressure, distribute food and medicine, weigh babies, accompany emergency response vehicles, and help with other first-aid procedures.
Examples of places where volunteers are needed are hospitals, senior care centers, the Red Cross and EBAIS (small clinics in individual communities). Assistance with public health community campaigns and other basic education can also be part of the job.
The projects provide a wonderful opportunity to doctors, nurses, medical and pre-medical students to become familiar with the challenges and health issues of Costa Rica, and they would benefit the most from this type of volunteer work.
To already get an idea of how a specific volunteer placement is like, read the following testimonial of Christel Bauló Estevez from Spain, who completed four weeks assisting at a senior care center:
“From the first moment the language institute and my host family gave me a very warm welcome, I have had one great experience after the other. I really couldn’t have made a better decision to change my hometown Barcelona to live and work a while in Costa Rica!
On the first day, the Spanish school provided us with all the necessary information regarding our stay in Costa Rica. The volunteer coordinator accompanied me to the health center where I was presented to the director and my new colleagues.
The schedule was set up such a way that in the mornings you would be learning Spanish or go volunteering. Since my native tongue is Spanish, I decided to do four weeks of volunteer work and enjoy the school’s activities in the afternoon. They offered us amongst other Latin dance and Caribbean cooking classes, which was a so much fun!
The school is very well looked-after and situated in beautiful natural surroundings. Here we ate our breakfast, had access to wi-fi and computers to communicate with our ‘European families’ and they helped us organize our weekend trips. I was also very happy to improve my English, while helping the other students improve their Spanish; and as it turned out my grammar and vocab were not that bad after all!
The project resulted to be an incredibly enriching experience for my professional career. My tasks at the retirement home were (as I’m an official nurse), to prepare and distribute medications, check on vital signals, sanitary education and provide treatments to the elderly…all with very limited resources. This is when I realized how fortunate we are in Europe. I started to really appreciate the jobs and installations we have in Europe, i.e. the quality of medical assistance, and also value the efforts of the nurses at the home to give the ageing residents a dignified assistance full of affection.
Over the weekend, my roommate Elke from Belgium and I visited the Volcano Poás and the paradisiac beaches of Puerto Viejo de Limón, Montezuma, Santa Teresa and Jaco. Here we enjoyed spectacular sunsets, looked at the surfers waiting for their waves and got to know people from all over the world while dancing salsa at a fiesta on the beach!
After these experiences I understand why the Tico greeting is “Pura Vida!!”
For more information about our health volunteer projects click here.