Thursday, September 23, 2010

Well, my iron stomach failed me.  I ended my nine-year streak of not having thrown up this weekend.  (Last time, I was in seventh grade and had to miss a field trip to the Greenbank Observatory.  I cried.)  Anyway, I think I picked up a virus from the sick baby I was caring for the day before.  Thank you Isaias.

Until today, I’d been living (just sleeping, really) at the convent, which is in a separate complex across the street from the Hogar.  That was nice because it was quiet, and little girls didn’t knock on my door at odd hours.  I really loved being there.  I frequently found giant cockroach-like bugs in my room there.  I’m usually not a chicken, but these things move REALLY fast.  I would generally dance and hop around trying to kill them with a squeegee.  Also, there was a kitten that lived outside of my door for about three days.  He liked to come inside my room and cause trouble.  My guard dogs (which are sort of ferocious and one of them would attack the other as soon as he came too near me) didn’t seem to mind the kitten.  However, he didn’t have enough sense to stay in my yard, wandered under a gate and was immediately killed by the guard dogs in the courtyard.  Such is life.

Now, I’m in the Hogar.  I have my own room with an oscillating fan installed on the wall!  It borders the 5-9 year olds’ room (a quality room for peace and quiet on Saturday mornings).  Actually, “borders” is putting it lightly.  There is a giant window between our rooms.  It’s probably designed for me or whoever to keep an eye on the girls (not that you would need to keep an eye out when I can hear everything).  However, if not for my lovely curtain, it would feel more like I was the subject of behavioral research.

Over the weekend, I visited Okinawa for another volunteer’s birthday.  We ate pizza, pancakes, triple chocolate brownies and banana bread.  (This was, obviously, pre-virus).   The volunteers at that site teach at a school and live in a compound with other teachers.  It being more rural and quiet (no kids begging for attention, no all night parties outside the walls of the compound) made it a very refreshing trip. 

You will be pleased to know that my toddlers with scabby, oozing scalps are about to start a full course of antibiotics (administered by me, so that the medications are actually finished).  The “skin doctor” (he’s not really a doctor) says that the problem probably starts with bug bites which are scratched open by dirty hands and then the infection spreads and becomes systemic. You know, he’s got a point.

My site partner, Melia, arrived yesterday!  She's been in language school for the past month and is doing really well.  All I could do when I got here was smile and nod.  Madre Rosario and I went to the airport with Don Poncho, two staff members, 9 toddlers, a baby to pick her up.  She was pleased.  I’ve learned a lot in the past 3.5 weeks by myself, and I think it’s been a great experience.  I know most of the names and spanish is getting a little easier.  But Hallelujah, the help has arrived!

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