Thursday, April 26, 2012

Honduras Brigade Part 2: Days 5 to 8

We resume our time in Honduras on day 5 of the trip, day 2 of brigade:

Day 5.
Today our route to Terrarita took us past an incredible mountain lake.  It was huge, blue, and seemed to wind around the mountains we drove on.  It was like the sky was wrapped around the mountains, and we were floating at the top.  We could see the tilapia cages in the lake, which was crazy because we were hundreds of feet above them - they must be enormous.  They made me think of Drew right away, because of that delicious tilapia and grape dish that he cooks.

The lake, and if you click on the image, you can see the tilapia cages
(photo credit: Jess Evans)
We could see terraced coffee plantings along the sides of the mountains as well.  I'm very excited to buy many pounds of coffee.

A coffee plant in bloom - one among
thousands!  (photo credit: Colleen White)
Tomorrow I'm in dentistry again, this time with Colleen.  I like dentistry, though triage would also be fun to try (volunteers do parasite medications and weights).  I switched out of dentistry for half the day today because Jess got very sad about having to turn needy people away from the donations area.  In truth, there were way more young mothers with tiny babies today than there were yesterday.

I'm exhausted and it's only day 2.  We have a longer day ahead tomorrow, and 6 more after that?  Besides the likelihood that we'll run out of some supplies (meds for sure), I'm worried that we'll burn out.  People are already showing it a bit - the days are long, busy, desperate, and very hot.  Tempers run short and frustrations are aplenty, especially because people can't give the kind of care that they want to give - even the volunteers.  It's very hard.  Seven more days of this almost seems impossible.

I got a text from Drew; his nieces liked the Easter cake pops we got them.  I wish I could have seen them. It makes me feel awesome to hear from him, and miss him still.  Em's a little homesick.  Sadface!

Day 6.
Day 6 outdoor dentistry - I'm leaning on the back of the
patient's chair, trying to stay in the shade.
No privacy, as you can see - people were always watching
the person in the chair. (Photo credit: Jami Joy)
Another day with the dentist.  It was super long and exhausting.  I'm not feeling super great tonight, and I think it's from playing a couple of hours of soccer tonight at the ranch.  I probably got overly dehydrated!  It was really fun though - Kat, Em, Yashi (awesome goalie, btw), Joe, Amanda, Fabio, Tango, Meza and I played, three-on-three in a King's Court style.  It was really fun to play with the Hondurans.  Meza was really good and I had a good time trying to keep the ball away from him.  They were surprised that Joe wasn't better, and probably surprised at how good the girls were!

The food here is good so far, but I am starting to get tired of it anyway - there are a lot of beans involved.  I've had no real gastro trouble yet, though I had some stomach pain today, probably because I had milk on cereal for breakfast.

I hope tomorrow I can switch from the dentist - it's interesting but it would be nice to do something else.  So many screaming kids and pulled-out teeth!

People have been playing a really fun game called Catch Phrase; we've been playing every night since arriving here.  The stakes are getting high.  This morning my team was supposed to serve the other team breakfast beverages because we lost best of 5 last night.  I forgot about that and didn't really do anything, laugh.  I'm not feeling the game tonight, partly because I'm feeling gross from soccer, but also I just need a break from the loud crowd.  At the same time, I'm sitting right beside them.  Quiet moments in the middle of a riot!

Our dinner debriefing sessions - always a can of beer handy
(Photo credit: Joe Barbero)
Day 7.
All day we could smell smoke.  They're always burning something here - wood for cooking, garbage, or the forest to plant more coffee.  The smell of smoke is pervasive.

A really great woman brought delicious coffee to us today.  It was thick and very sweet, but amazing.  It might have been the best part of the day.

I was floating a little bit today.  I started in the donation area, but they really didn't need me, so I ran around doing errands and then started taking people's information at triage, in Spanish.  Tango is very cool about giving me chances to learn/practice Spanish.  He is encouraging and insistent in the good way.  I need that kind of influence.

I'm really, really looking forward to Tela.  I can barely even wait.  People are dropping like flies, too.  Liz had a hypoglycemic episode today, Yashi and Jess are both having GI stuff, and a couple of people have injured themselves.  I wonder if we'll make it to day 9.

Dinner time!  Probably tortillas, rice, beans, or some variation thereof.

Day 8.
We had a big tailgate party tonight with the Honduran staff and all the Canadians, to celebrate our version of Hump Day - the end of brigade day 5!  We only have 4 more to go.  The party was really fun.  One person got very hammered on something called Yuscaran, which is essentially moonshine.  It's a clear, high proof alcohol distilled from sugarcane, but it is not rum (not even close).

Everyone had a really good time and it was good to hang out like that.  There's a small core group of us that hang out together each night, so it was awesome that all of us spent time together.  Fien and Kathy love to dance (Kathy even got up into the bed of one of the trucks).  Even Emma danced a teeny bit towards the end, that shy girl.  It was actually really cute, with her smile and bouncy curls.

Three lovely nurses having a grand old time!
(Photo credit: Mr. Chan)
Joe and I getting our grooves on
(photo credit: Jess Evans)
Yuscaran, that devil, let to an interesting episode involving the poisoning of the communal watering hole with a red and white striped bedsheet.  Needless to say, things had gotten messy overnight...

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