I finally got my first taste of Costa Rica, both literally and figuratively. Last Sunday, my implementation team (Siri, Callie, Tasha, and me) along with Dr. Richardson traveled down to Liberia to gather information for our projects. It was a short trip as we were only there four days, but we got a lot done!
The trip was extremely important for Siri and me because we hadn’t actually seen the most recent version of the DialOasis prototype (version 2.0), which is located at Invenio where our fellow “GMIers” constructed it this past summer. We also got to meet our collaborators both at Invenio and the local Liberia Hospital. These meetings were extremely insightful and the information gathered is helping us shape both our design and business plans for the project moving forward. We now have at least a rough timeline of tasks that need to be completed before we start clinical trials (hopefully in March or so) and have a better idea of how Invenio can help us manufacture the “cuartitos” (literally “little rooms,” what they call our DialOasis prototypes down there). The only catch is that Invenio would need Siri and me to send them a final design for the next iteration of the prototype before November if we want to have it rolled out by February. This is definitely a tight timeline and we may have to push it back.
Like I said, our meetings with our collaborators were very productive and it was great to finally put faces to all the names Siri and I had heard. While it was a lot of work down in Costa Rica, it was also a lot of fun. Since we arrived on Sunday afternoon when most everything is closed, we went to the beach, which I guess could be considered a rite of passage while in Costa Rica. However, I would definitely say the real initiation came with the food we ate. Every breakfast we had gallo pinto. I also tried Casado and salsa Lizano (sort of like Worcestershire sauce). To get the total experience we bought coconut water off the side of the road as well as these delicious fruits called Mamón Chino (Rambutan) which are sort of like lychee.
Last but not least we had to get Subway while in Costa Rica. It’s a tradition that our GMI cohort started this past summer. They went so often that they even had the sub of the day rotational menu memorized. Since Siri and I were the only two not in Costa Rica over the summer, we had to go. I am happy to say that we did get Subway (twice) and that I have proof below (see picture). We are now fully initiated into this year’s GMI cohort.