Sunday, April 27, 2008

Journey to the Jungle

The last week we went out on the vaccination jornada. The first day we went out, we sadley did not take our camera because we didnt know what to expect. Unfortunately and fortunately, we went to the most beautiful place either of us has ever seen with our own eyes. We drove in a truck with about 16 other people way up in the mountains near a reserve called PeƱas Blancas. This is a mountain range that sticks strait out of the jungle into the sky. Trees bigger than I have ever seen with moss and vines hanging on them. Little waterfalls. Butterflys as big as my hand and the sound of Congo monkeys barking all over. We ended up in this little community, I hate to even call it that because it didnt look like anything, but a lot of people sure came. We set up shop in this building owned by a coffee finca. It had a long wide window that looked right into the side of this enormous mountian shooting strait up into the sky about a kilometer high. It was covered in monkey trees as I like to call them because they look just like the fake trees at the zoo in the monkey house.. sad I know, but now I know why they make them that way. It was breathtaking.
We commenced to give a diarhea charla to a group of school kids who looked on and didnt say anything. And afterwords they continued to look on as each one came to center stage and got their shots and polio drops. They left crying. We spent most of the day there, and then we packed up our coolers full of vaccines and hiked down the mountain. We stopped at this one house to check on a pregnant lady. There was a man outside cutting cacao pods and taking out the seeds. We chatted with him for a while and told him that we had never seen the seeds in the pods. He made us taste one. They were covered in this slimey goo. The goo was sweet, but the seed was quite bitter and we spit it out. Next we hiked down this trail through the jungle, next to a little stream. This was one of those moments that you say to yourself, holy crap.. Im in the Peace Corps!
We stopped at another little village and set up again. This time while kory was giving the charla, I giggled because there were these little tiny pigglets running around all over. And goats too. You can imagine my excitement.
The truck came to get us at the end of the day. On the way home we randomly stopped, as you do in these types of countries- at the whim of the driver, whatever the whim may be.. peeing, drinking coffee, saying hi to a girlfriend. Today the whim was to buy cuajada, cheese, at a farm house. One of our guys also chased a rooster around until he cought it, tied it up and bought it. He wasnt holding it very nice, so I held it for a while like a baby. They laughed. It was doomed to die later. The least I could do was afford it not to be held upside down while it puked.
The next time we went out to the country, not so jungley, but very gorgeous. Much the same experience. We collected some type of citris fruit. We are not sure if they were limes, lemons, or oranges. Its confusing because they have limonas naranjas here which are limes that look like warty oranges. Anyway, we made fresco with it. This time we were ready with more charlas. I gave two charlas about family violence and one about STDs to school kids and moms. We also did a diarhea charla for the little ones. We took condoms along for a demo but we didnt have any platanos.
The next week we got ready to go out on the jornada, and when we showed up at the health center, they told us a medical brigade was coming and needed help translating. We were pretty scared that WE would be the ones translating. It turned out to be an Airforce medical unit. They are really nice people. We have been translating tirelessley every day. They see about 600 - 700 patients a day. We are getting pretty good at translating medical needs. Virtually everyone in Nicaragua has backache, headache, neckache, acid reflux, cough, fever, scabies, diarhea, dry skin and a parasite. Easy right? I cant tell you how tired we are of translating. We wake up at 6am, walk the kilometer or so accross town to our house, shower, make breakfast, dress and go to the health center. We come home at about 430, rest for an hour in the hammock, then teach three hours of english. We come home, pack up for the next day, then trek across town again to the host family house. Watch tv and chat for a half hour, fall into bed. Check for flees and mouse poo and pass out.
I also made some delightful things these last two weeks. I made the best hummus I have ever made. The secret is the molina. I have always used a blender. But here, one has things ground at the local molina. It does a far superior job. Very smooth. I also made soymilk and soymeat for the first time. It turned out ok. Still experimenting with it not falling apart to death. The soy milk tastes a lot like the raw soy beans, which to me, isnt that good. I dont know why it doesnt taste like Silk. It looks just like it. And despite my efforts with suger and vanilla, it tastes like raw soybeans. Hmm. Any advice? I also made flat breads and curry vegetables and we made peanut butter also with the help of the molina. It was amazing. I would add some of the pictures, but it is loading too slow.
Another excitement of last week was the discovery and death of a 3 incher! You should know that I mean cockroach. He was very slow so spraying him with death spray was not a problem. Yes people, I heather, am a changing women. I no longer feel bad for killing things like this. Im still working on being on ok with killing mice. We have some big problems with them. but I havnt figured out how I can live with myself yet. Anyway, the cockroach is still in our garden. Usually the ants come right away and eat them, but he hasnt been touched. He might be immortal. If you come to visit, he might still be here.


Jared and Shannon Allen Family said...

Heather- I love to read your blog. You are having some amazing experiences. Holy cow!

Sounds like you guys are doing well. Little Gracie is 2 months old now and doing well. I take her in on Monday for her well baby check up and we will see how much she weighs. She is smiling and is so stinkin' cute right now. Logan crashed his trike in front of your old place the other day. He has some great "crash" marks on his face. Abby just went to her kindergarten round up. She'll be going to school come the fall. So crazy.

Keep in touch....

Megs said...

You crack me up! You are a fantastic writer and I feel like I'm right there with that cockroach!