May 22nd 2018
Today was a lot of fun! The Costa Rica team traveled to a gold mine called “Tres Hermanos”. Our tour guides name was Minor. Minor has been working in the mining industry since he was 18 years old. He has been working in Tres Hermanos for the past 20 years. He was very nice to us and gave us a great tour of the mine and the history of mining in Las Juntas, Costa Rica. It was such an eye opening experience because it showed us how they collect gold and showed us the hardworking occupation of mining. I gained a lot of background knowledge about mining from Dr. Ouellette’s Environmental History of Latin America class I took this past spring semester. In her class, we saw a documentary about the mining industry in Chile and how children have to start working at a young age because of family financial struggles. Luckily, Tres Hermanos does not have child mining. Actually, the Costa Rican community really stresses education. There are numerous schools in the community. I learned that “escuelas” are for students aged 7-13 and “colegios” are for students aged 14-18 years old. After the gold mining experience, I reflected on how I am grateful for being able to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to the Costa Rican gold mine. I really appreciated how I was able to benefit from Muhlenberg College’s liberal art education because if it was not for that class I wouldn’t have had the same background knowledge on mining. I thought it was awesome how I was able to translate my learning experience from class into something I can apply with while in the mine. For example, I shared how mining impacts occupational health for the workers overtime and what different equipments are used for. Additionally, touring the mines really gave me the opportunity to practice my sSpanish as I served as one of the translators for Minor. One of my goals is to immerse myself in the Spanish language so much that I return to the U.S. able to confidently speak Spanish.