Today we went to the hospital in San Ramon. It was about at 2 hour bus ride so we woke up at 5am to get to school by 6:30. I definitely have been waking up much earlier here than when I am in school! I also usually go to bed around 9 or 10 every night. Haha so much for living up the night life of San Jose ;)

But anyway, back to the hospital visit. It was all I could have hoped for and more! We started with a brief meeting with the director of engineering and all his technicians, about 5 or 6 in total. They gave us a brief description of the health care system in Costa Rica. It was really interesting. Apparently it is broken up into several parts, but the largest and most important part is the CCSS (Caja Costaricense Seguridad Social I think). All Tikos (Costa Ricans) pay into the CCSS from their wages and therefore receive all health care for free. Everyone, regardless of income, pays 9.25% of their income to this. Therefore, those who don’t have jobs and are homeless don’t pay anything, and they still receive exactly equal healthcare to those who are quite wealthy. Of course there is still a small private sector of health care that costs quite a lot. This hospital served about 160,000 people in the local area and has only 102 beds. Quite a small hospital for so many people! I asked several of them if they liked this system, and everyone I spoke to seems to think it is an incredible system! Even Katia , our host mom, likes it. Apparently the people here are much more generous than Americans ;) I don’t really think that it would work out as well in the states.

After this discussion we got to go look at some of the broken equipment. We had small hopes that we would actually get to repair some, but it was really interesting to actually see some of the equipment that we have been looking at in class for the past few days. It is so much easier to understand what is happening when you actually see the equipment first hand.  And all the technicians were so excited to have us there and eager to answer questions. It was an amazingly interesting time of half Spanish/half English conversations. My Spanish is already getting SO much better, and I think that because I am one of the more outspoken in the group I am speaking much more, though I am by no means the best speaker of the group. But the Tikos did compliment me on my Spanish, so that was encouraging ;) However I think it is because they only heard me speak in the present tense at that point. Haha. I am blessed living with four girls who all speak really well too so we help each other along quite a lot! The hospital also had a Mariposeria basically a butterfly garden! It was so pretty! I think we could definitely inspire a lot of healing if we had those in all our hospitals. This was one of the larger hospitals in the Country and they had a lot of modern equipment. I felt very privileged because we got to go into a lot of the behind the scenes locations and see what they do in blood analysis, x-ray, laundry, etc. And because I am the only ME I got to go look at the boilers ;) I think my favorite machine was the sheet folder. It is used to dry, press, and fold sheets and it is an incredible feat of engineering! I have some pics but I need a little more time to upload them. Of course me being the ridiculous person that I am I put in like 3 or 4 sheets. I am beginning to think I may be a little too outgoing for my own good… but it is so much more interesting when you jump to the front and get to be hands on.  It was so great to see what really goes on in these hospitals and see some equipment. And also see how welcoming and friendly all of the staff were. Some of the staff was asking me questions, which was so strange because I certainly don’t think I know more than they do. But there were amazingly respectful and we had a lot of fun! I am really looking forward to our hospital visit next week as well.

Oh and I almost forgot! When I was talking to the director about social security, I was trying to ask what the impression of the tikos is of the CCSS so I used the word impreción. However, impreción actually means pressure.. so really I was asking what the pressure of the Tikos is of the CCSS. Haha oops.. oh well there will probably be a few more of those mishaps before the summer is over.

This weekend we are going to Monte Verde to go ziplining! I am SO excited and I think it will be incredibly beautiful. So when I write next I will include some picture of that.  Actually it is about 5am right now and I need to go finish packing cause we leave in half an hour. but internet usage is precious and hard to get sometimes.

There is always so much to write about, but I think this is probably good for now.


Doreen Van Leeuwen
6/27/2010 12:23:24

Hi Jen - wow by now you are swinging from tree to tree somewhere - how totally amzing. Thank you for the great blog
entries and getting up super early to do them. I love following what you are doing. Senidng lots of love and prayers!

8/14/2012 16:52:54

Really Great post.

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