About one in three women worldwide have experienced physical and sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime. This number does not include the percentage of children affected by the exposure of violence in their home or their environment, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Anne Bongiorno, former public health nurse and current nursing professor, and 14 Plattsburgh State students traveled to Costa Rica to team up with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation in order to empower women and children who have experienced the violent nature that occurs in Costa Rica.

The presentation of the No More Tears event was hosted in Hawkins Hall on Feb. 21. During the presentation for the No More Tears project, student nurses of PSUC who volunteered for this project explained their observation of the tin homes these families were living in.

“The trip was divided into the three segments. The first segment was La Carpio, where we received service learning, as well as providing service for the agency and trying to bring back a better understanding of the world,” Bongiorno said.

Arenal is considered the volcano area of Costa Rica. The group explored this area to learn about the environmental health of the community, the necessities of survival, and the impact the volcanoes cause for the health of people who live in the area.

“The third part of the trip was to the Caribbean side in Limon. Conducted more service learning and learned about the rainforest and a lot about racism on that side. We’ve looked at the concepts of culture and race and its impact on health”, Bongiorno said.

La Carpio is one of the poorest areas of Costa Rica. Nicaraguans migrated to La Carpio in the 1980s during a brutal war in their home country, and a collapse in their economy created more poverty, according to The Tico Times News.

The student nurses who volunteered to create this presentation were Haley Miller, Angela Halse, Jacqueline Ciriello, Alexandra McHugh, Maddie Ward and Alison Whitten.

The No More Tears project was to offer a beacon of light inside the dark tunnel La Carpio was trapped in. Instead of an intervention circle to ask the women and children to share their experiences, PSUC used different forms of therapy in order to provide positivity and comfort.

Student nurses Miller and Halse used art therapy. Art therapy was used to express how the women and children feel through artwork. Student nurses Ciriello and McHugh used entertainment, such as “Simon Says,” puppet shows and a coloring book activity for the children. They entertained the children to get them involved with positive activities. Student nurses Ward and Whitton used written and oral expressions of their meaning of self-esteem, bag/bracelet creations, or encouragement cards, and yoga. These interventions were to decrease the stress of the women and children.

Bongiorno said that the unbelievable experience student nurses were able to receive was by seeing the global health epidemic. Student nurses helped provide blood work tests as well as checking their heart rate for any of the health problems.

Bongiorno also wanted to point out some pivotal observations seen in Costa Rica that weren’t emphasized as much in the powerpoint presentation, which involved both racism and poverty.

She explains that drug usage, alcohol abuse and violence derives from the mentality of feeling defeated and having nothing to be positive about amongst the men in Costa Rica. She continued to speak of the mentality of Costa Rica that “white skin is rich, which live in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose.”

Dr. Anne Bongiorno said that she can’t fix everything wrong with the world alone, but I believe she inspired others to join her.
“We shouldn’t view life by percentages, we should see what needs to be fixed.”

Email Isaiah Bermudez at news @cardinalpointsonline.com

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