I can’t believe the program is already halfway over. It has gone by so fast. We only have two more weeks left. Some students have their final exam next week. Time always flies when travelling, and of course, when having fun.
I had two field trips this week, both for the Ecosystem Health class. Though Monday was a regular school day, on Tuesday, the entire group headed to downtown San Jose to go to the National Museum. When the Ecosystem Health teacher, Bernardo, arrived, he gave us some background information on the museum and told us what to think about as we perused the displays.
It turns out that the museum wasn’t all that great. It wasn’t large, but they didn’t make very effective use of the space and clearly directed your attention to the parts of history they wanted to emphasize. There was a lot on pre-Colonial, and Colonial times but everything leading up to the present was crammed in one giant room filled with succinct displays. Anything conflict- or struggle-related was pushed to the side, and much of the important information went unnoticed by anyone not explicitly looking for it (unless you’re a local). Some of the displays were interesting, and I learned many random facts about Costa Rica but I don’t feel I learned much from the experience itself (other than a little bit about how some people want Costa Rica to be presented and why our teacher hates the museum).
On Wednesday, I had double classes. Alternative Medicine was in the morning, as usual, but we had a guest speaker and a make up class for Healthy Ecosystems in the afternoon as well. It was a long, tiring day.
Thursday I didn’t have class in the morning but did have another field trip for Ecosystem Health in the afternoon. We all headed over to the university for lunch beforehand and found that the Biodiversity class had brought us some special snacks to go with lunch: beetle larvae. There was a huge plate covered in the (thankfully) dead maggot-like edibles. They were spiced and served with Fritos. I found them surprisingly delicious. After munching on those and the meal provided by the university, we hopped on a smaller bus and headed out to meet our professor at Fundacion Neotropica.
This field trip was only for the students in the Ecosystem class, so after we headed out, the rest of the group went back to the hotel. After picking up Bernardo, the 15 of us headed to La Carpintera, We made several stops around the area of the protected zone, examining social and environmental factors that affect the health of the watershed and the area. At one of the stops, Bernardo showed us a Targua tree and got some sap from it. The sap has regenerative properties and is especially good for your skin but looks kinda like blood. After visiting all of our stops, from forested areas, a town started by a dump, the area squatters started a town, to agricultural areas and a high/mid class mall, we headed back to the hotel to meet with everyone else, eat, and pack for the weekend’s excursion to Monteverde. Our take-home midterm exam will be on this trip so we’ll have to think about all the issues brought up, but it was interesting to see everything out in the field.