Monday, July 23, 2007

Worlds colliding

Hi all,
I have had a wonderful experience thus far in Costa Rica. Pura Vida! I have learnt a lot about the language and the culture, and had enough time to reflect on my role in Latino Mental Health in the U.S. This immersion experince will be, and already is, an invaluable component to my growth as an empathic individual and as a cultrually sensitive clinician. The distance that separates the lands and the cultures is minimal to the humanity that unites us. I believe my privilege compells me to learn more and to ask more questions. The school and home experince here is rich with opportunities to ask important questions and to learn more about our similarities and differences. I would recommend this program and experience in a heartbeat.

I am very honored to be here, and am certainly enjoying our weekend trips!!! I was in heaven in the coffee plantation and it is still hard to believe that just yesterday i was riding the rapids down a dangerious rio in the middle of a tropical jungle. Next weekend we are going to the's hard not to enjoy the perks of being in the Latino Mental Health Program at MSPP!!!

Ok, well that is it for me for now. I have to head home as my mama Tica will be waiting for me :)
Hope all is good with you guys in Boston.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Our First Week!!

Hello All! We now have finished the first of our five week trip. Things have gone very well so far. Everyone has gotten along well with their families and we have met some great friends (other students and workers at El Rancho also). Today the five of us (Jorge, Juan, Jeanine, Christina and Zack) went to a coffee plantation to check out how coffee is processed from a fruit to a drink. It was fairly interesting but a solid experience overall. Tomorrow we are heading to the Rio Pacure where it has been said the most scenic white water rafting in Central America occurs. The town we live in, Guacima, is considered semi-rural, but even Christina, who is from rural upstate NY, considers Guacima a very rural place. School is pretty intense starting at 8 am and going until 3:30 pm with a two hour break. Meanwhile, the sites the other members are volunteering at seem to be very exciting. We are all adjusting well and are learning about a culture much different from our own. We decided to attach a quick excerpt from an email recently written by one of our members, Zack. We hope you enjoy!

"In addition to the children we have four dogs, three horses, one cow, one parakeet and about a billion chickens and roosters. To give you an example of how crazy things are check this out. I came home this afternoon and left the door open by accident. My Mami Tica (tica/tico = person from Costa Rica) screamed for me to get into the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen and the cow was standing next to the oven and sink. We both started laughing so hard that we startled the cow and he tried to run out of the house. Since the floor is tile, the cows' hooves had some traction trouble, which only made the situation more hilarious. Finally we directed him out of the house as my Mami Tica told me the next time I left the door open she was going to smack me."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Aqui estamos! We got here! (Amaro)

Aqui estamos en Rancho de Español en La Guacima, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Este es nuestro segundo dia en Costa Rica. Ya hemos conocido a nuestras familias, tuvimos nuestro primer dia de clases de español, y aprendimos una expresion muy tipica que describe muy bien la actitud de los "Ticos": "Pura Vida!" La gente son muy amables y simpaticas, y la vida es muchisimo mas calmada que en los Estados Unidos...

Here we are at Rancho de Español in La Guacima, Alajuela, Costa Rica. This is our second day in Costa Rica. We have already met our families, we had our first day of Spanish lessons, and we learned a very typical expression that describes well the attitude of most "Ticos": "Pura Vida" (which means "Pure Life"). People here are very polite and friendly, and life much more relaxed than in the USA...


Friday, July 13, 2007


We (a group of MSPP students) are off to Costa Rica for our first summer immersion program.

We will be studying Spanish, living with Costa Rican families, and volunteering at local mental health facilities.