Costa Rica Mission Trip Experience – Hannah Warkentin
As someone who has participated in two previous volunteer experiences abroad, I originally thought that I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from our project in Costa Rica. This project was so much more than I could have ever imagined: more overwhelming, more exhausting, and infinitely more rewarding. Despite my extremely limited knowledge of Spanish, I felt that we were able to connect with the locals in a way that made the language barrier irrelevant. The degree of gratitude that was expressed to us, and the lengths that people went to in order to access health care put things in perspective for me in ways that I could not have imagined. It was an unreal experience to realize, and see first-hand, how much these people value access to the services that are so readily available to us in Canada, and I was in total disbelief when we were told that a primary school teacher walked for five hours with her class to receive eye exams from our team. Hearing that story made me realize just how much of a difference we were able to make for a community in three short days. I am so grateful to Mountain View Optometry, and everyone that has generously supported us in making this incredible opportunity such a success, and a life-changing experience.