Kathryn McCutheon, Costa Rica, May 24, 2012

We woke up in the beautiful Hotel Sanchiri and had breakfast at 7:30. The breakfast included fresh, local fruit, pinto (beans and rice), eggs, and French toast. We left Sanchiri for the last time at 8 am and headed for Volcano Irazu. On the 2-hour mountainous bus ride there, we took tons of pictures and enjoyed the views. The people were all so friendly and everyone waved as we passed by. When we reached our destination, so much luscious green vegetation and a unique plant called “poor man’s umbrella” surrounded us. We walked around for a little more than an hour and took lots of pictures. There was uniquely colored blue water at the bottom of the volcano that fascinated us all. We then shopped at the gift shop where we found amazing pictures that were painted on feathers and coffee leaves. Many of the volunteers bought some coffee to bring back home to family members.

We left the volcano and drove back down the mountains until it was lunch time. We stopped at a typical Costa Rican restaurant for lunch. Some of the meals included pinto, fried plantain, and cheesy corn tortillas. I, of course, had French fries. Some of the girls found some homemade sour cream ice cream pops and had those for dessert.

After lunch, we headed for Grano de Oro for our second clinic location and our homestays. Once we made it to Grano de Oro, we met our homestay families. Margret, Madoka, and I were the vegetarians of the group, so we all stayed together. Our homestay mother was such a sweetheart and did everything she could to accommodate our eating habits. Our little turquoise house was adorable but so different from any house I’ve ever been in. The interior walls did not reach the ceiling, so we could stand on our beds and see over into the other rooms. There was about an inch gap between the wooden floor planks, so we could see the ground beneath the house. To get to the bathroom, we had to walk through the back porch where the stove was. We knew that there wasn’t going to be hot water, but we had no idea how cold the water would be. It was heart-stopping freezing. We then had dinner with the family, which included pineapple, pinto, cooked vegetables, and a coconut-chocolate bar for dessert. After dinner, another guy that was staying with our family took each of us on a four-wheeler ride. It was so much fun and so scary at the same time. We went 40 km/hr on a pothole filled dirt road in the dark! We finished the night watching some football with the family in the living room. The girls and I went to bed at around 10 pm so that we would be ready for our first clinic day in Grano de Oro.