Through the College’s Nachreiner Overseas Fellowship Fund, Nicholas D. Moore, DVM Class of 2021, traveled to Costa Rica and participated in the CVM (Christian Veterinary Missions) program. He details his trip below.
Thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Nachreiner
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Nachreiner,
Thank you very much again for all the support you provided to the four of us from MSU who attended the mission trip to Costa Rica, as well as the many of those before us who also have been blessed by your generosity.
On day one, all the mission’s participants arrived in Costa Rica. We spent the day getting to know one another; we all ended up telling our life stories to the group, and by the end of the day we all felt like family. We met our wonderful and gracious hosts, Dr. Bob, and his wife, Janette, as well as two kind-hearted women, Flora and Xeena, who prepared our meals each day for the first half of the trip.
On day two, we began vaccinating the goats on Dr. Bob’s farm. We had the opportunity to learn about artificial insemination (AI), in preparation for the AI we were going to perform on the goats later in the week. Later in the morning, we met the Sanchez family, most of which are musicians. We bonded over outdoor sports and explored the land together, which lead to an encounter with a sloth in the wild!
On day three, we trimmed goat hooves and finished up the goat vaccinations. This was a great experience, as I learned a lot about goats and goat-handling. I was educated on proper restraint methods, vaccination techniques, and best hoof trimming practices.
On day four, Dr. Fosdick, one of the veterinarian leaders for the mission, taught a class on AI for goats. In addition to our CVM group, a local class of pre-veterinary undergraduate students attended. I was able to help hold the goats during the AI demonstrations and procedures. In the afternoon, we went on a trip to a large market in San Ramon. Later in the evening, the group sorted and took an inventory of the medical supplies that we would need to run our spay, neuter, and vaccination clinic in San Roman the next day.
On day five, we drove to San Roman, the area where we held the spay, neuter, and vaccine clinic. Once we arrived, we unpacked, setup the clinic, and discussed clinical duties and assignments with the team. I worked in spay/neuter recovery with a few others until late afternoon; this was the first step I took outside of my comfort zone during the clinics. However, I felt full of energy and focus all day long as I monitored and tended to the pets of the local community.
On day six, I worked morning through late afternoon in surgery, being advised by doctors and fellow veterinary students. This was my first experience with being directly involved in surgery on live animals! Even though I had a few moments of anxiety, I enjoyed it, as it was a great opportunity for me to confirm my interest in veterinary surgery. After all the seven procedures that I helped with were finished, I assisted in recovery again.
On day seven, I worked in vaccinations and conducted physical exams. In this role, I gathered animal histories and communicated with animal owners. This was another major area of growth for me, especially due to the language barrier. Thankfully, several team members were proficient in Spanish speaking, and in Google translating, so I was able to concentrate on performing thorough physical examinations on the animals and practicing my person-to-person interaction skills with the animal owners. That evening, we all shared the experiences we had at the clinic, and our last dinner and night of bonding together.
On day eight, we enjoyed our last meal together, said our goodbyes, welcomed one another to keep in touch and visit our hometowns and clinics, and then left for the airport.
As a result of my experience, I have realized even more that passion and service can bring total strangers together and make them feel like family. I have seen how caring and welcoming Costa Rican people are and how deeply they care for their pets. Misconceptions I had about other cultures were shattered as I stepped outside of my comfort zone. I now I have a new insight in to the world, veterinary medicine, and myself—an insight that I’m thankful for, as it opened my eyes to all that I’m capable of.