My Costa Rican Adventure – A Guest Blog by Georgia Fox

Posted in Blog on 6th March 2018

Hello, I’m Georgia Fox and I’ve just finished a 10 week volunteering programme in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with the charity Raleigh International. During our volunteering time we worked on three different projects involving building a trail through a national park in Costa Rica, building a clean drinking water system in a rural community in Northern Nicaragua, and finally we trekked 270km across Costa Rica.  It was my first time travelling away from home and I knew no one so it was very daunting to be with 100 new faces!

As we were in areas where there’s not only malaria and Degue carrying mosquitos but also the recent risk of Zika virus, I knew I would need a strong insect repellent. However it seemed contradictory to take DEET based products with me which are harmful to the environment I was meant to be protecting. Raleigh also insist that all volunteers take natural products with us and so this is where incognito was perfect! I took the full range of products with me which meant I was fully protected from all the insects without damaging the fragile environment around me.
On my first phase, in Piedras Blancas National Park we worked with the rangers to improve accessibility to the jungle to develop ecotourism. We saw amazing wildlife including capuchin monkeys but being in the rainforest there was also a never ending supply of insects out to bite you… This is where incognito came in. Thanks to the spray the tiny pests were no longer a problem to me and scratching bites became a thing of the past.
Next came Nicaragua where we had a home stay in a rural community and built trenches for an extensive water pipe system. Now they have clean running water taps in their homes for the first time! Each group’s project was only 15 days long but in such a short space of time we developed an incredibly strong bond with our families. They have so little yet are some of the kindest people I have ever met. 
As there was no running water when we were there we washed in rivers. incognito’s hair and body wash  was brilliant for this as it is biodegradable and thus contains no insoluble chemicals that would pollute the river. I also loved it as it being ‘two-in-one’ saved space in my luggage!
There was one worrying event when a volunteer in another community did catch chikungunya virus and had to be immediately hospitalised- not an easy trip to make when you’re in a rural Nicaraguan village and it’s evening! All was okay in the end but it was a stark reminder to us all that the risk of catching a disease spread by mosquitos is very real and that you do have to protect yourself.
For me protecting myself wasn’t an issue as incognito spray has a pleasant citrusy smell to it and so I always used it.  However many other team mates hated using their DEET based toxic products and so suffered badly from bites as they were reluctant to use their sprays.
Whilst on trek many friends actually commented on how nice the incognito spray was. It definitely smelt better than we did! One friend commented “it makes my DEET spray smell toxic” and it definitely does!

 

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