Posted By: Alyson Landry on September 21, 2011

Labels: Costa Rica , Volunteers

Earlier this summer, 21 Project HOPE volunteers provided medical care and health education in Costa Rica. Read their stories. 

As the two large tourism buses full of military and volunteer medical professionals headed out for the first day of patient care in Costa Rica, the Continuing Promise 2011 team immediately noticed the  lower emphasis on security in the Central American country. Costa Rica does not have their own military; therefore volunteers were escorted by police escort instead of the usual in-country armed forces.   

First-time volunteer, Dakota Wheeler, an operating room nurse from Oviedo, Florida, was eager to get to work after several days at sea.  

“Oh, I love it,” she says, even though heat rises above 100 degrees at the medical sites. Wheeler bends down to pull out chairs for each patient, offering a universal greeting as the patients begin to give their medical history to the medical student translators. “The translators really help out with the screening process,” adds Wheeler, who speaks no Spanish herself.  “This smoothes out the process and helps the doctors and nurses know exactly what the patients’ needs are before the patients are finally examined.” 

Volunteer Janis Zloto, a Certified Nurse Midwife from Albuquerque, New Mexico was excited to be treating the Costa Rican women. “Many of the women in El Salvador came in for common aliment,” she says. “Here I am seeing more women with   female health issues. It is great to really be using my women’s health specialty,” she adds.


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