So, at the end of my last blog I said I’d elaborate on my adventures in Las Cruces if I didn’t have to make a return trip to San Vito Hospital…turns out I totally jinxed myself! While I did not go to the ER (it’s debatable if this was the best decision), I did sprain my ankle pretty bad while attempting to run on the extremely rocky trail that leads to the station’s canopy tower. Leave it to me to injure myself just days after I finish my antibiotics and get over being sick. It’s not up for debate anymore…I have the worst luck ever.
On a positive note, the sprained ankle happened at the perfect time (if there is such a thing as the “perfect time” to lose walking ability). This week I was too busy working on my independent research project proposal to even notice my lack of mobility or the throbbing pain in my foot. In good old Costa Rican fashion, I practiced R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, & elevation) while I sat and painstakingly typed my 20 page proposal dealing with antibiotic overuse and misuse on Costa Rican farms –> more to come on this exciting research I’l be conducting later!!
4 days of bliss
In between my stomach virus week and the day I became crippled, I had four days of solid health (wahoo). These four days were incredible as we got to visit two very interesting and beautiful indigenous communities.
We first visited La Boruca, a territory located just 1.5 hours from Las Cruces Biological Station. Being the fourth largest indigenous community in Costa Rica, the Brunca make up 9% of the country’s indigenous population. During our stay, we learned about the history of the people, stayed in a traditional ranch-style home with thatched roofs, were taught how to dye and weave Brunca clothing, witnessed impressive artisanal mask-making, and made homemade rice tamales. We also talked about current medical uses and practices within the territory.
Immediately after, we traveled to Las Alturas, a small community with only 300 inhabitants. There we spent an entire morning teaching grade school kids (K-5) about the importance of recycling. Before arrival, the twelve of us made “trash monsters” and then, through stories, activities, and fun relay races we taught the kids which trash monster ate glass, paper, metal, or organic material. While this was my absolute favorite part of my time in Las Alturas, milking a cow for the first time at a local dairy farm was a close second!
Sister Spring Break
As much as I loved my time at Las Cruces (sickness, indigenous community visits, research proposal, and all), the three weeks spent there definitely prepared me for spring break! I was beyond lucky to spend the entire week with my little sister up in the northwest Guanacaste province (side note: extremely hot!!) We zip-lined, rode horses, swam in the ocean, took in some great views, and most importantly, got some much needed R&R.
But spring break is over now, she is on her plane back to Syracuse University, and I’m sitting here in my host family’s house trying to mentally prepare myself for the second half of this exciting yet challenging semester.
If I have one wish for the upcoming 5 weeks it’s this: LET’S SPREAD THE BAD LUCK AROUND! Airport troubles, allergic reactions, bullet ant sting, stomach virus, ER visit, sprained ankle…what else can possibly happen? But hey, I’m still smilin’ and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that I can sure handle whatever my time abroad has thrown and will continue to throw my way. Next stop Palo Verde Biological Station.
Until the next set of unconventional & entertaining stories at my expense…
This week I learned…
2.) how difficult it is to use crutches in the rainforest. I consider myself an expert when it comes to crutching around (I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to use them in my life)…but I was completely out of my element with uneven ground, muddy patches, and the possibility of a poisonous snake crossing my path at any second. YAY for not injuring myself further!! 🙂
Haylie Butler '17