glitter p&p

(no subject)

this is my last night in belize. today was a long day- we went on mobile to a far off village and we had to carry our stuff the last bit of the way bc the road was flooded. we ended up having to stay late bc i had a patient with an abscess on his ass and i was trying to I&D it in this small little room that was literally like a freaking oven. the other med students were watching me bc none of them had done it before but i wasn't able to do it properly bc we no where near had enough stuff. i tried and got some junk out of it. and at one point i started sweating so much (from the heat) that i thought i was going to pass out and had to go sit down. it wasn't bc of the cutting or anything. i have done it before. it was bc it was so fucking hot and i had already been sweating ALL DAY LONG and i was so dehydrated. i barely ate anything all day bc the heat wipes your appetite. 

I am getting ready to board my flight to Miami. We are supposed to leave at 1:45 and they haven't started boarding anyone. Belize time until the very end, I suppose. It was sad leaving this morning but time marches on and so must I. I will be glad to be back in the USA. We don't realize how nice we have it there. Like no where else in the world. I think those barefooted Mayan women would die if they saw your house. Smile and be thankful. God has been very good to us.
daisy/hair

august 21

we went into town this morning to buy food for tonight and tomorrow. amazingly it is not like the states where everyone and their brother is at the stores buying bread and water. here, i guess people do what they always do. most of them don't shop in the stores i bet either. they dont have the money to. they make what they can at home and grow the rest. 
the idea about this year and this trip was to test myself and broaden my horizons and really get to see what i was capable of. i am very glad i did this- it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience despite the inconveniences a third world country offers. i have met some neat people, shared my expertise and seen others and other ways of doing things, i have helped people who dont have a pot to piss in (literally) and had some fun. i think that something like this would be good to do more often. maybe not the four weeks part, but spending a week in another country serving people is a great way to spend your time. it is part of our profession- expanding health care opportunities to those in need. and these people are so appreciative. no one has ever complained- no matter how long they have had to wait. no one expects you to do anything. anything you do is something they didn't have before. and they are nice to each other, too. no cutting in line, no yelling at each other when it got hot or crowded. perhaps we as westerners could take back more from them than they take from us. yes they are poor and dont have much of anything, most of the adults arent literate, but they have what we dont in a lot of ways. the stuff that americans think is really important really isn't at all. you might enjoy something like this too. i think you would appreciate their culture and their hardship. maybe one day you and i can do a trip. we can go anywhere, really. there are tons of places just like belize, unfortunately, where people need help. 
it is just drizzling now- no wind or anything yet. im the only one who has actually seen a hurricane. seen like 5-6 actually. ha. last night we ate at an "italian" restaurant. it was really interesting bc it wasn't italian food any more than just pasta is italian. they dont have cream or butter here and it is kind of hard to make sauces and stuff without those two very important things. dairy is kind of hard to come by although the stores sell this homemade yogurt that is amazing. they have coconut and it is my favorite. i try to eat a few a week. anyway, i had some chicken in lime that was breaded and over some kind of soupy sauce. it didn't taste bad, perse, but it certainly left something to be desired. thats what we get for expecting something like that in a country that makes beans and rice. haha. i think people just wanted something different from beans and rice and chicken.  at least it wasn't expensive. and they had the best juice. they were making pure watermelon juice that they were blending with ice- it was like an icey watermelon. it was fabulous. and for one dollar. i had two. and i never drink that much of anything at a restaurant! they had a melon kind too but the watermelon was way better. i want to figure out how to do it at home. it is so delicious.
i have pretty much just started telling people i will be in SC when i go back. i told the brits to come and visit me there. haha. we will see if anyone is flying across the pond any time soon. i would like to see the UK. and to stay with someone would cut the cost down dramatically!

gaga

august 20

i survived the overnight. it was okay. i wasn't a big fan of sleeping on a concrete floor in a dirty ass building with no electricity or screens or fans or anything. we worked all day on wednesday and saw quite a few patients- and worked straight through to our presentations we did for the town on fever that night around 6:30 (which i guess went ok) and then went into one of the villager's houses and had traditional chicken soup with homemade tortillas and some traditional cocoa drink. it was very nice of them to feed us- as you can imagine for these people it is no small gesture as they are so poor. on the way back thursday we stopped into another village to see more patients- nothing unusual. fevers, uri, pelvic pain, lice, ear infections, pharyngitis, OA- what the doc calls "bread and butter" stuff. we have all talked about how most of what we have seen is pretty close to what we would see at home. nothing too exotic or crazy. i was so hot and dirty and sweaty and gross. we stopped and jumped into a river on the way back and it was wonderful. little things. i am so tired tonight bc i did not sleep well on the concrete and with turkeys, chickens and pigs outside the window and last night we stayed up late. we went out to a bar where you can buy rum by the 1/5 and then you just buy the cokes. got a little tipsy. we all did. tonight they are off again to the bar, but i am going to lay low, shower and go to bed. maybe read a bit. 
the doc that we worked with these past few weeks is leaving tomorrow early- she told me if i ever want to work for northwestern in chicago she would be happy to put in a good word for me. she told me that i was just as good and in some ways better than the med students- i was more organized, less scattered, and more focused than they were. it might be that i am so much older than they are too but who knows. 
i am not sure what the power situation is going to be after tomorrow- i bet if we lose power, which is likely, it won't be like it is at home with a fleet of trucks rushing to put it back on. all these brits are freaking out- this will prolly be the only tropical weather they will ever see. hahah. we are in a concrete building with bars on all of the windows so it will be fine for us. although no power means no fans, ugh. i am really really tired of sweating. you sweat all the time here. i just took a cold shower (it is all i have anyway) and i am sweating again. i am looking forward to air conditioning again. no more humid nights where it is hard to fall and stay asleep bc you are so hot and sweaty. 

queen's joy

august 16

today was the day of pelvic pain and suspected PID. i did two pelvic exams and had a 16 yr old guy with dysuria, a clean urine, and swore he was not sexually active. yeah, right. we treated him for GC/chlamydia anyway. carpel tunnel, birth control counseling... yesterday i had HTN, BPH, seizure disorder, TBI (traumatic brain injury) with blindness (she has had it for a while and is suffering from the fallout), chronic anemia. very much GP stuff. saw a couple of cases of ringworm, one heat rash, URI, headaches- pretty standard stuff. nothing that is extremely exotic here. and you were worried that i wouldn't see stuff that was applicable in the US. 
tomorrow we go to our overnight mobile clinic. the other team did theirs last week. i have been kind of dreading this since the beginning. we go to a far away village, see people all day , stay the night, eat dinner with one of the families, do a presentation on health stuff for the village, and then get up and go to another village on the way home. i am nervous bc who knows what the bathroom facilities are going to be (if any at all) and bc we are gone so long, i am going to have to go at some point. i can't not eat or drink anything for 24 hrs in the heat. on our day trips i try to get away with no intake to keep from pottying. the other thing is we have to sleep on the ground somewhere in the freaking jungle. i think we stay in the health outpost so it won't be open air, but it won't be indoors exactly, either. and it will certainly be on the ground. i can imagine i won't be getting much sleep. the other team said that they had fun doing theirs, but they were so sweaty and gross and didn't sleep all that well- but they saw SOOO many patients. they said that people line up for hours to come and see you bc we don't get to these villages but once a month. and they are far enough away, that they don't necessarily go to the clinic in downtown punta gorda either. 
the doc that we have been working with these past weeks is going to do our evals today bc she leaves at the end of the week. so it will be interesting to see what she thinks seeing as though i am the only pa. but she likes pas- she said she works with some back home and they are good. 
did laundry again today- it is such a pain in the ass. and the clothes don't come out great bc the washer kind of sucks, the detergent is some mexican crap, and they have to dry out in the humidity. they have been hanging since before 8am this morning and they are still damp. but i have to bring them in tonight bc if you leave them out overnight they get "jungle funk" as chad calls it. i have noticed some discolorations on some of my clothes...i am hoping that after a proper wash back home they clear up. i'd hate to think that some of my clothes didn't survive this little endeavour. and of course it is not the scrubs that i dont care about- it is the nicer stuff. funny how that works that way all the time, huh? 
my roommate is sick- i am trying to avoid her like the plague bc i dont want some belizian URI. i am sorry she feels bad but i dont want it!

queen's joy

august 15

i do want to come back- i miss my loved ones, my puppy, and the conveniences we enjoy. but, i am very glad that i did this- it was a once in a lifetime experience- i mean, i get a view of belize that tourists don't. i intimately interact with the people, go to rural villages, get to see people's houses and lifestyles. i get to live here for a month, practice my passion, meet an international group of people that are fun and like minded, and i get to travel around a beautiful country on the weekends. plus you feel good helping people who have nothing. 

we went out thursday and friday night. thursday we went to this bar called the embassy which is an outdoor place with one pool table and kareoke. belizians love kareoke. like really love it. especially old country songs. we ended up getting up there quite a few times and sang stuff. first the boys and then the girls. it was nuts. friday night we all went out to eat at this place down in PG that was on the water. i had fish and it was amazing. after we went to this bar called bamboo chicken- it was so neat, they had swings! the also had traditional guarifina drummers. we stayed there for a while and then went to the embassy which on saturdays has a "dj". it was pretty bad- they had bad equipment so when they sped up the songs the voice got sped up, too- so it sounded like the chipmunks. it was fun to dance for a bit, but it is so freaking hot- and some of the guys were getting bolder and i wasn't having it. (not our guys- locals). me and this one girl, veena decided to go home and as soon as we walked out of the bar the sky opened up and it POURED. i am not kidding- it was better water pressure than we have in our showers! we were absolutely completely soaked walking the 15 min walk home. i wouldn't have minded so much but i had my camera. luckily, it somehow didn't get wet. 

we found paradise this weekend! went to tobacco caye (pronounced key) which is one of the many islands that are off of the coast of belize. it is about 12 miles out and a 30 minute boat ride. it was way smaller than vieques- i mean, you could walk from one end of the island to the other in a few minutes. you could see the other side of the island just standing there. blue green, clear water like vieques. the place where we stayed is run by a friend of dan and maria (the people that run hillside) and they got us a great deal for the weekend. it was about 70 dollars for a room saturday night and lunch/dinner on saturday and breakfast on monday. the accomodations were modest, but they were right smack on the crystal blue water. it was a million dollar view for sure. we snorkeled and swam and sun bathed and just relaxed. i wanted to go fishing, but no one would come with me. it was amazing- it felt like i was back in my element. just about all of our crew except the sri lanken and the african sunburned really badly. they are all either red heads or english white people. i am the only one that tanned. it was funny- they were lathering on lotion like no tomorrow and burning like crazy and here i was putting on the 8 a few times and browning like a turkey. haha. 

today we had a mobile clinic to a village called barranco. it is a garifina village (they are black/carribean) and it was right on the bay of hondoras. they made us lunch- it was traditional fare- fish (idk what kind), this green plantain mush stuff with coconut milk, bread fruit, fried plantains- all of the food here has been good, really. not always the most exotic or anything- but it always tastes good. there was a cute little dog that kept hanging around us and it made me miss my puppy. except that mine is clean and smells good and doesn't have fleas.


queen's joy

august 10

Today I am supposed to go and spend the day at the clinic in town with the public health nurse. No idea what it will be like. yesterday was the first day that the heat really got to me. i think i had mild heat exhaustion. it was so fucking hot that you were melting. and we were outside all day- no fans, very little shade- i was dripping in sweat. and by midday, i was nauseous and felt like passing out, throwing up, or both. We were at this women's guild and they were teaching us how to grind corn and make tortillas from scratch. Neat, but we were in a hut with a fire burning so it was super hot and smokey.  i skipped lunch and just prayed that i would start to feel better, but there is no escaping the heat here. there is no where to go that is air conditioned. as part of cultural day we went to this cave in Blue Creek (and i thought swimming would cool me down and help me feel better, BUT) it was quite dangerous. it is the rainy season and the river is swollen and there was a wicked current bc the river runs out of the cave and down some waterfalls and rapids. and you have to crawl over rocks and through the rushing river to get there. So heat exhausted Christina scared from swimming for her life to keep from going over the waterfall, still had to crawl over rocks and through rapids to get back. Thankfully, Chad helped me a bit bc my balance sucks on a good day. I fell at one point into the running water and if he had not been standing there to grab me, I might have been swept away. so here we were trying to stay along the side of the cave holding onto slippery rocks or we are in danger of going over the falls- and trying to swim against the current when the walls weren't good to grab. finally we aborted mission, but by the end of it i was pretty sick feeling as i had used the rest of whatever energy i had being scared and swimming for my life. it was hard to walk back (that is when i fell). i survived, though. but i think that i am over the cave thing now. people are talking about going cave tubing this weekend, but i am pressing very hard for going to one of the keys where we can fish, snorkel, and lay on the beach. that is what i have wanted to do since i got here. if they decide something else, i might still try and figure out how to get to the beach. i need
some relax. we have been running and running without stopping since we got here. i am so tired. you don't sleep very well here bc of the heat. i have been trying to go to bed early. tonight my roommate is gone on the overnight clinic (we all have to do it- we go to this far off village and stay the night out in the middle of freaking nowhere and then hit another village on the way back) so i get the fan all to myself tonight. i am looking forward to it. small things! i repainted my toenails bc the 100% DEET bug spray i was using melted my polish! it doesn't seem able to stop the bugs, though- i
itch everywhere! anyway, they were making fun of me bc i was painting my toenails "in a third world country". i tried to explain that i always have my nails painted...but it fell on deaf ears. oh well. i am not concerned with their opinion about it. we wear flip flops every day and i don't like having icky feet. i guess i am still a girly girl.
 the exchange rate here is 2:1 so it is almost like everything is half price. i have barely had any alcohol- that tends to be where a lot of everyone else's money has disappeared to (we can't have ETOH on campus at all, but you can go into town and this weekend they all drank a lot). for example, i ate fish, rice, and beans with a "light" coke for $9bz today. so that is like eating for less than 5 bucks. try getting all of that for 5$ at home. we don't have to buy lunch most days, but i was in town this afternoon so i walked over to this place called B's kitchen with the pharm student that was at the polyclinic too. it was a nice change from cliff bars. i am glad i have my food that i brought, but i have also been excited to try as much local stuff as i can. good because the local stuff is cheaper than any of the american brands you try to buy. plus who wants to eat the same crap you can get at home?  i do get the occasional diet coke bc i miss caffeine. i want to try what the locals eat (within reason, of course, hah!) the food here is pretty basic, but just about everything i have tried has been good. lots of chicken, beans, and rice. the kind of diet that works well with me. very little beef and pork. a lot of the packaged stuff is from mexico and the labels are in spanish. the chickens are ubiquitous here. they are running around everywhere. you hear roosters crowing all the time. 
everafter scene

august 8

the stores are little hole in the wall places- kind of almost like gas station quick-e-marts. there aren't always a lot of people in there buying stuff- and if they are, it is mostly junk food. and bananas. they are like 8 to a dollar around here and ubiquitous. 

i am taking lots of pics- in fact i think i almost have 300 already and it is just the first week! i will upload them all to facebook when i get home- the internet doesn't support that here. i am taking tons bc i always get back from somewhere and say that i didnt take enough pics- so this will not be one of those times. although i hate the pics of me....but there is plenty of scenery here to photograph. i saw six patients in clinic- vomiting, fever, conjunctivitis, urticaria, bells palsy and we went on two home visits. one was a new patient- 61 yrs old and a massive CVA last week- infarcts in the internal cavity (?) and the watershed areas (?) neuro is not my strong suite, but he has hemiparesis and expressive aphagia. it sounded like he started infarcting that morning but didnt get to the rinky dink hospital until that evening. not the sort of things we would expect here for sure. his family didnt know that his fumbling with keys, facial droop and unsteadiness was an emergency i guess. not sure that much would have changed bc i doubt very much that they have TPA here and they certainly dont have neurosurgery. he had to go all the way to belize city to even get the CT and that is hours away. really sad. the second home visit was a 88 y/o male who was just d/c'd from the hospital for pneumonia and urinary obstruction. he has a foley as we speak and a psa of over 9. he had a weeping wound on his left ankle from venous or arterial insuff (no doppler studies here), he was in afib (no coags either- too hard to try and get INRs so they just use aspirin) and had history of stroke. the guy just sits in the back "room" of the house and stares at the wall or something. these houses are something else. they have either cement slabs or tarps over the dirt for floors. no one has glass in the windows- no screens either. no ac but these people live in town so they have power. but i dont think that they had running water. not sure. sometimes it is just a pump outside. the CVA people had a tv- prolly the first one i have seen in a house since i have been here. crazy the poverty. you and i would think we were camping if we had to live in these houses. and there are so many stray dogs- and they are mangey and starving- it breaks my heart to see them- but it is hard to stand on a soapbox about animal welfare when the people are living in squalor. although most of them do look like they get enough to eat, but not good things- cheap things like rice and beans. occasionally chicken depending on how poor and some vegetables. tomorrow is "cultural day" and i think they are going to take us to a few of the local sights- it sounds like a fun day. yay!

this weekend was definitely action packed! we went to the ATM caves in belize on sunday. it was hardcore. we were swimming and climbing through rocks and up the sides of the cave- i had no idea that it was going to be as intensive as it was. in fact, i had little idea of what we were going to do until we showed up anyway. prolly a good thing bc i would have been scared most likely and maybe would not have gone. but that way, i was there and i was going.  so, we had to hike about 1.5 miles through the jungle to even get to the cave. once we got near the entrance, they outfitted us with helmuts and headlamps and we had to jump into this pool of cold water (but it felt good in the heat and humidity) and start swimming in the cave. once you get inside, it is very dark and cool. you have to climb up and over rocks and swim through some more channels- it was insane. i was particularly nervous bc i don't do heights very well as you know, and we were up kind of high as we climbed into this cavern that had a bunch of artifacts left over from the mayans in it. they left them as they found them so you see pots, fireplaces, altars, human skeletons- it is wild. i have pics i can show you when i get back of the cavern and the cave with the rock formations, there were holes in the ceiling for the bats, too- the end part you have to climb up this rickety ass ladder and over to this ledge where they found the skeleton of a 21 year old girl and a skull from a small boy who had hydrocephalis. apparently as times grew tougher for the mayan people, they started sacrificing younger and younger people to try and appease the gods. they felt like going into the cave was a way to get closer to the underworld and it almost feels that way as you go deeper and deeper into this dark cave with water running under you- it was like an indiana jones movie. getting down off of the ladder was crazy- i was very scared and had to try twice to get out over the ledge onto the shakey ladder. i guess i am proud of myself that i was able to do all that. i know that it was kind of a once in a lifetime thing- i mean, this cave was huge- they have done documentaries on it and everything. very neat. our tour guides run on belizian time (which basically means no hussle and they are late) so we had a close call catching the bus home- it was so crowded some of us had to stand for some time- i think i stood for 90 minutes b4  a seat opened up for me. it is an old school bus- no AC and the ride was like 5 hours. it was pretty miserable, actually. but we made it and were here in time for clinic today. i am so tired though- last night was so hot it was hard to sleep- and this weekend was draining. i am going to bed early tonight. chad (PT guy) told me i was almost 30 so it was okay to go to bed early. ha. ha. smart ass.


queen's joy

august 6

 We are in the town of San Ignacio in northern Belize and finally have some a/c in our hotel!  It was a long bus ride here on Friday but a good way to see the countryside. This town is a little sketch- we were hassled almost as soon as we got off the bus last night. The first hotel we booked told us they didn't have our rooms when we showed up. So here we are after a long hot day of travel in a strange and sketchy town with no where to go. While we were sitting and trying to figure out what to do, I started talking to this American guy and told him about our situation. He tells us he knows the owner of another hotel and offers all 14 of us a ride in his  pickup truck across town. The new place ended up working out and had a restaurant. We ate after ten, but at least we got to eat! I am staying in a room with three double beds...I guess bc it was cheaper this way. I can't wait for some privacy at some point. But wait, after I come home, I have to move into someone else's house. But anyway, we went to Tikal, which i guess is the largest Mayan ruin site in Central America. It is just across the border to Guatemala. We had a tour guide that was recommended via Hillside and he arranged everything for us. He was also very knowledgable about the Mayans and the civilization. Kinda cool but soooo hot. Sweated all day long. Saw spider and howler monkeys in the reserve where the ruins are! So cool!
Tomorrow we go to some caves where the Mayans used to make sacrifices to the Rain god. Apparently we can swim through them and there are artifacts left to see and maybe some cave drawings? Then we have to bus back to Punta Gorda and start work again Monday. And supposedly the express bus (and I use that term lightly) doesn't run on Sundays so we are in for a long ride home. Think 1970's school bus, over crowded, no A/C for 5 hours. Cross that bridge when we come to it! Everything moves slower here. The bus was playing reggae all the way here. Bob Marley and others. Kinda neat. People here either listen to Spanish music, ridiculously old country, or reggae. 
Tonight I think we are going to get a late dinner (we ate lunch late) and maybe check out a bar in town or something. I'm exhausted from all day in the hot sun. And itchy! Despite covering myself in 100% DEET and spraying my clothes, I still have bites! Damn tropical mosquitoes and sand fleas or whatever else bit me! 
I haven't met a long lost best friend or anything but everyone seems pretty nice. Some get on my nerves a bit but that is pretty typical with me and other females. The boys are fun and chad the pt is funny but a bit pleased with himself. I am the oldest one here- the Brits are all about 22-23 ish bc they don't have undergrad there- you just go straight into med school. The pharmacy kids have something similar at their school in the US. I am always the oldest one lately it would seem. I try to blend in but they are so young.
I will be glad to come home I think. It is a nice experience seeing what little others have and being able to help people with my skills who truly need it and appreciate it. However, everything is dirty here, you sweat all day long and are covered with thick greasy bug spray, the bathrooms generally suck (although at hillside the toilets are ok, but the showers are cold). I am looking forward to sleeping without sweating and being on my own clean sheets and having something to drink besides lukewarm water. We have already started mentioning things we cant wait to get home for. One of the pharmacy students wants a mountain dew. Chad wants chick fil a. I want decent Internet and AC.
Off to sleep- we have to be up again in six hours. It takes so long to get anything done that we have just come back from dinner and I came right up here and showered and it is almost one. The others are down in the bar drinking. I guess I am boring.
everafter closeup

august 3

today was the first mobile clinic for us, and we went about 1.5 hours
on this dirt road through the jungle to get to a remote mayan villiage
of about 78 people. the village was called Na Luum Caj or "mother
earth" in mayan. we didnt have a lot of patients today- i just saw one
lady with an asthma exacerbation- she cooks in her hut and breathes in
smoke and we figure that is a trigger for her. she came wheezing like
crazy so we gave her a nebulizer tx. there is no power in the village
so they have a hook up for the truck where they can power the neb via
the battery. so our patient is sitting in the back of the land rover
taking her neb tx. she was much improved after and we sent her back
with some zyrtec, an inhaled steroid and refilled her albuterol
inhaler. she was very sweet. driving out there was wild- we went off
these crazy roads that are dirt and full of holes with small bridges
and water flowing over them. belize is kind of mountain/hill-y and you
see these rolling green hills with huge palms and just lush green
everywhere. then at the foot of the hills are thatch huts usually with
a clothesline and some kids and chickens around them. they plant corn
up the side of the mountains- and it is not necessarily in the neat
rows like we do it here- but it is all manually planted and harvested.
there are no machines out here. the women wear traditional dresses and
the men wear clothes- but they look like stuff that was handed down
from the US years ago- the t shirts have old dates on them and are
from various places. they sell clothes out of a old bus that travels
around to the villages. we sat and waited for a while to see if there
were more people coming, and it rained a bit and then stopped and got
awfully hot and steamy- then we pile into a truck like sardines with
no AC. it was hot, sweaty, and cramped on the way home. i was glad to
be out of the truck for sure when we got home.

the NC boy and i hitched a ride with some of the staff into town
tonight to get some things at the store and he had the guy (our
driver, mr rudy) take us by this place called B's kitchen. none of the
stores or restaurants look like stores or restaurants. they look like
houses but they have a small sign outside that i guess alerts you to
the fact that it is a store or restaurant. mister PT guy says a lot of
time you can just walk up to a hut and ask the people if they are
selling anything and sometimes they are. B's was closed, i think,
except that mr rudy waved over a guy standing out front and asked him
what he had to eat there- he goes inside, comes back out and it turns
out he had tamales for 1.25 belize (which is about .75 US). i think
they were making them for dinner for themselves or something and then
decided to sell us some? who knows, but they were awesome. not like a
tamale we eat in a mexican restaurant (the food here has some of the
same names as the mexican food but it is different)- it was like a
corn mush with some sauce and chicken and it was piping hot and
delicious. PT and i sat in the back of the landrover eating these
tamales on the way back to the clinic- he said something like "i bet
you never thought you'd be eating tamales in the back of a truck with
a PT in belize, huh?" well, no, but i will prolly never do it again so
it is one for the memory books. i was happy to try some local food.
and it was cooked and hot so i figured it was safe. chad is a nice
guy- graduates this summer from PT school and is thinking about a job
in GA.

we are planning our trip this weekend as a group- they want to go see
these caves that you can tube through and some mayan ruins- and if we
all go as a group (all 13 or 14 of us) we can get discounts and get
things much cheaper. i am letting them plan it and call around and
told them just tell me how much and where i need to be. the only thing
i really had on my list to do was sit on a beautiful beach and
snorkel. well right now, the visibility in the water is not good
(according to this local guide) and he is not sure when the algae will
clear. i am hoping it clears before we leave bc i really want to see
the reef. belize is famous for this reef. but this place has a lot to
offer besides that. i mean, it is a tropical paradise of sorts- kind
of untouched and very rustic. definitely like nothing i have ever seen
before.

i miss AC and hot showers. i miss my pup and talking on
the phone. it is hard to believe i am going to be here another 3
weeks! tomorrow morning i am going to get up early and try to do
laundry bc you have to hang it out to dry all day. i hope it doesn't
rain on my clothes. and i hope they dry. if i get them out there by
8am they should be dry by the evening, i hope. tonight the other team
made jumbalaya for dinner. it was pretty decent, considering we are in
belize with limited resources. i was just glad i didnt have to cook
it. i got to sit in the hammock outside and read for a little while
instead of cook. tomorrow is our day to cook and i think i am going to
try and do a scramble of sorts- black beans, bell peppers, onions,
cheese, eggs- and see how that does. we have a ton of eggs- they dont
refrigerate them around here, you know. and it should be fairly easy
to do the rest. eric and i used to make stuff like that a lot- but we
had sour cream to put on it- no sour cream around here. all the chefs
seem to be on the other team....we joked about ordering take out when
it was our turn again- this lady next door to the clinic (ms janice)
will make homemade burritos for you for like 1.25 belize if you ask
her ahead of time. they got them for us on monday and they were
delicious. different from a burrito we are used to, but the homemade
tortillas are really really good. everything that i have tried that is
"local" has been good so far. and no diarrheal illness yet. and no bug
bites! i do have this one red spot on my knee but it is like the size
of a pin prick and red but not raised or itchy. idk what it is. i am
hoping i can carry on with no bug bites and no sickness. that was my
goal, remember?
eyeball

August 2nd

today was the first day in clinic- I only saw three patients. apparently bc the buses don't run on tuesdays and there was some flooding in the villages bc of all the rain- we were slow. we are working with a doc from northwestern who is originally from senegal. she seems to be pretty nice and wants to teach. the med students were very nervous about clinic, but i was not- i figured it would be very similar to what i have already been doing. they haven't written any rx's yet, either- so i was the one showing them how to do it. i am the only american, the only pa- so i am doing alot of education to them as far as what our role is in healthcare and blah blah. an "ambassador to
the profession"
it is hot today. much hotter than it has been- the sun is coming in and out. if you have the luxury of just sitting, it isn't too bad, but moving around (or seeing patients in clinic) you sweat. tomorrow is our first mobile. we climb into a land rover and will go to some village and treat patients all day. i am nervous about that one. no running water, no POTTY all day long. my tendency is to just not eat/drink in situations like that- but i can't do that in this heat and expect to survive. we shall see how it goes. last night was a terrific thunderstorm and the brits were all fascinated bc apparently it doesn't rain like that in london. it rains, but not with thunder and lightening. well, newsflash, it rains like that every week in NC.
i am waiting for them to eat lunch bc we are supposed to work on posters this afternoon for health education. a big part of the mission is to educate the public. if you address issues surrounding hygiene, diet, and information, you can provide a lasting impression for the
health and well being of the people we serve. the literacy rate is low and they don't understand alot. we had a man who dislocated his
shoulder in march and still has pain- he can't go out and swing his machete and farm to make money. they are small people- the mayan's are just like you'd expect them to look. apparently there are a few different ethnic groups and two of them Mayan.