Surprise Day Trip

MC40_PacuareVisiting a Costa Rican hospital in the small city of Limon was a detour that wasn’t expected on my medical trip to Costa Rica. For our recreational day during the trip we received the good fortune to go rafting in the famous Pacuare River, listed in “Outdoor Magazine” to be one of the top five rivers in the world for white water rafting.

Battling through the strength of the level four rapids with a hardworking team and trustworthy guide, it was an amazing experience. However, during our routine paddle high-fives where we clashed our paddles together in a resemblance of a hand high-five, one of my boat mates missed and instead hit my thumb, right on the bone. Too swollen to paddle afterwards I was unable to row and was given a wrist brace and whisked away to the hospital.

Although, low-spirited at first I soon became intrigued by the hospital and found myself in wonder at what I noticed. From the administrative paper work I had to fill out to the technology used, everything was very different in comparison to a Canadian hospital. I walked to 4 different buildings and waited a long time just to get my work done. Also, at the end of my visit, I had to pay for each and every individual service I used. Old typewriters were used to type, the X-ray room did not have the most up-to-date technology and all walk-in patients regardless of their medical issue were to all be seen by the one doctor on-duty before leaving. The system was disorganized, crowded, inefficient and slow in comparison to the Canadian health care system.

I found myself in awe at the difference and I came to the realization that the free Canadian health care system offered uniquely in Canada should not be taken for granted. I felt this showed how we as Canadian citizens are presented with more opportunities as opposed to the developing countries. It’s fascinating how a once in a lifetime opportunity also lead me to make a realization and gave me more respect and consideration of being a Canadian citizen.

- Amrit in Mississauga

Editor’s Note:  The five recipients of this year’s Seva Fellowship, a program for young aspiring leaders in the Peel Region of Ontario, each wrote a story as part of the fellowship program.  Their contributions are grouped together here.