Me in my scrubs

Touring a local historical museum in Alajuela, Costa Rica

Hi there everyone! My name is Ayan (pronounced I-Yen)  and I’ve been given the awesome privilege by the special people working at Waboba to post about my amazing experience being able to volunteer in Costa Rica & Nicaragua for two weeks. Before I begin, I should tell you a bit about myself and what I’m currently doing.

Currently, I am a 22 year old student in my last year at the University of Toronto studying City Studies/Urban Planning plus a minor in Economics. My friends had brought up the idea about volunteering overseas, but it was always just an idea. We wanted to do something different. Rather than just travel and get no experience out of it, we wanted to travel for a cause. My friends who attend the University of Waterloo and York University brought the idea of attending an organization called VIDA Volunteer Travel, an organization based in Central America whose main goal is to provide medical, dentistry, and veterinary services to local communities that need it most.

Each trip, VIDA organizers ask volunteers to donate anything we believe families would find beneficial (from medical supplies to clothing). I wanted to donate something different, aside from the usual items people bring. The first thing that came to my mind was Waboba.

I first found out about Waboba balls in the U.S. when I was travelling with my family. A large display setup inside of Brookestone is what caught my eyes. I love the beach and always bring down different equipment to play with at the beach. However, these balls were something I had never seen in my life before; balls that bounce on water! Unfortunately I didn’t purchase my first balls there, but waited until I got back to Canada and ordered a couple off eBay. It wasn’t until a short time later that the idea of asking the kind hearted people at Waboba to donate some balls for the volunteer trip I was going to soon attend! I soon asked Jordan Sullivan who quickly responded with good news on being able to donate 24 Waboba extreme and street balls!

The medical team with Dr. Angelina Cortes.

Before you know it, we were in Costa Rica and Nicaragua handing out the balls to local children who came by our clinics. The experiences in these two countries were phenomenal. My team worked in the medical clinics, where we would see patients, diagnose them, and prescribe medication from our makeshift pharmacy. In one day in Nicaragua, our team would see well over 120 patients easily. Many of them were young kids, and what better way to keep them entertained then by showing them how to use the Waboba Street ball. Kids fell in love with our generous gifts, and over hearing the conversations about kids asking their parents to take them to the beaches were priceless.

Although I am not a medical student, I wanted to do something where I gave back to people who are not as fortunate enough as us to have adequate resources to live a decent life. It was definitely a life changing experience. I spoke no Spanish before I left for the two countries, but came back with a bit of Spanish to (somewhat) engage in a conversation!

-Ayan Talukder

Here is a short video I put together with the highlights from our trip:

Here are some more pictures for your viewing pleasure!