Monthly Archives: June 2015

Day 118

I haven’t eaten in three days. I am tentative because I am so hungry but afraid to throw it all up again. IV fluids have some nutrients but eventually I’m going to have to eat. I got a piece of toast to stay down so the doc told me to try some pills and come into the office. I made it twenty minutes before it all came up again. Back to the hospital and this time I have to spend the night. I’m so weak. I’m also lonely. Meg left around 9. I wish more than ever I had my mom here. 

Day 117

I kept down two crackers and sips of water mainly but chewing ice. My state of health is still declining though. We waited until midday to get a ride to Managua. I threw up in the car on the way there. My entire body is starting to hurt. Doc says its early onset muscle failure from having no electrolytes in my body and dehydration. Getting another IV was pure hell. The lady tried five times before getting a vein. She said, “tiene las venas de niña.” You have the veins of a child. I am naturally small, as are my body parts, but add in dehydration and everything shrinks some more. The arm that had veins showing was in so much pain from yesterday’s IV and the blood the nurse took this morning she couldn’t use it. I’ve cried so much today and tried to breathe through all the pain. It’s been really hard, especially not being able to talk to my mom. Thankfully, Megs was here with me. She’s been so helpful. I want to get out of here for her. She’s skipping work and showers. I left the hospital at 9 pm. Another day wasted in a hospital. 

Day 116

There were many ways I could have gone about this. I decided to say it like this. Sitemates are God’s way of saying you are not alone. Today I realized how invaluable the peace corps network is. This morning, before I had a chance to eat anything, I found myself throwing up and constant diarrhea. It got so extensive I passed out. Having no energy to make it home, Megan helped me get to a clinic hospital. She packed all my things and helped me move around.  Since I was supposed to have a meeting with my boss about my site, he was here with a car and drove us where I needed to be. Once at the hospital, Megan translated everything for me so I could rest. She bought me adult diapers after I pooped in my pants and took my clothes to be washed. She rubbed my back while I thew up and held my hand while I cried from all the work they did on me. they told me I have a gastrointestinal bacteria infection and a parasite. You can get this the same way you get the flu. Someone touching you without washing their hands, uncooked food, doorknobs. Any place where bad germs live. I was in the hospital for 6 hours, released at 7 pm. My boss reserved me an amazing hotel. The staff gave me a bucket, ice chips and a plate for the crackers I would attempt to eat. I couldn’t have asked for a better place. Nothing is staying down. Throughout the night and early morning, I threw up everything: crackers, liquids, medicine. So Megan called the doctors at Peace Corps. Tomorrow, they’re coming to get me to go to Managua. They don’t recommend I try the two hour bus ride. Megan has been a pillar of strength. She called my mom with saldo when I didn’t have wifi. She bought me new clothes and socks, when I threw up on everything. She checked my temperature every hour an wrote the results. She gave me cold towels to break my fever and woke up several times mid-night/early morning to help me clean my throw up bucket or help me back to bed. Sitemates are Gods way of saying, “you are not alone.”

Day 115

Safety and security meeting! I finally get to meet the other volunteers and awesome places in my area. It was an all day meeting. BUT there was wifi and A/C. No complaints here. Afterwards, I’m spending the night to get to know the volunteers better and get my hair braided my Kim. It turned into a cultural lesson for the not colored girls (everyone but me and Kim). But they were amazed and interested by everything. The hair, how you braid it in, how long it takes, and how long it’ll last. My hair looks amazing. Everyone went out afterwards. I feel really tired for some reason. I’m going to bed early. 

Day 114

Bats 2 Janae 0

More days of bats and me screaming. I cannot live this way. They love the dark corners of roof and good lord they keep pooping! I’m going to pray loud and hard for an answer because these squeals of pure terror is annoying and ruins my street cred among my students. Here’s some more bad news. I’m two seconds from going to the barbershop in town and telling him to shave my head. I took out my crotchet braids and tomorrow am getting my hair braided by a fellow chocolate volunteer. God bless her. But even with her blessed fingers, I know she won’t always be here. What am I going to do when she leaves in a year? The humidity and dust here are breeding grounds for me to grow some dreads. My hair is super curly and knotty. I feel like every inch I grow I lose in knots I’m pulling out. I can say I’m so grateful my new family didn’t interrogate me about my head. I’m simply not in the mood. My mother would lose her mind if I climbed off the plane with a low fade. Sigh… Decisions decisions. 

Anyways yoga class went well! I love tag teaming with my sitemate in Spanish directions. Plus more people came! First class was five people including me. This class had six! Which was wonderful even with our last minute location change. The women are remembering the pose names and how to get into them. One woman in particular gets so happy when I tell her she’s doing a great job. I can’t wait to see her progress. I brought her pictures of bigger yogis to encourage her the best yogis aren’t skinny. Yoga is for everyone.

Day 113

Today my heart just burst with love! My training mom called me!! Not only did she say she misses me but she said my Spanish has gotten so much better. I could tell she really meant it. I’m so proud of myself because I’ve really been trying. She got my text about zip lining and said she can’t wait to see my pictures when I visit in October!

In other news, my bunny is pregnant. Which explains why she acts like a dog while I’m eating. She literally stands on her hind legs. She’s eating for two.. I think? I don’t know bunny gestation or the norm so I’m going to have to look into that.

Day 112

I woke up to 10 birds flying in my room. 

Let me first, preference this story by stating a fact: I am legally blind. Without the aid of glasses or contacts, I cannot see words past the tip of my nose. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not. I really cannot see. So when I open my eyes in the morning, I can only just make out blurry colors. Thankfully, light helps. So I can see better during day break. At night, it’s pretty bad. Even squinting can’t help at night, this the reason I’m only allowed to drive with glasses. So this morning, when I opened my eyes and saw light color orbs moving around my room, I thought it was light reflections from something outside of my room.  I did hear chirping, but this is Nicaragua. I always hear birds chirping. My family owns birds. Birds sit on my roof or my window ledge and have at it all day. But what tipped me off was when a colored orb flew a little too close to my bed and I saw it was darker than a sun reflection could ever be. My first thought, “that can’t be a bird” two seconds later, after putting on my glasses, I screamed in fear. It wasn’t A bird. There were BIRDS. I am not exaggerating! They were ten birds flying around my room. Immediately, I jumped up and told my host dad. He and his wife grabbed a broom and made a lot of noise to make them go away. The idea that birds can fly in an tsunami like formation at you or dive bomb is not made up! It’s true and terrifying! With my glasses on, I could see dirt clods all over my floor from their reindeer play AND… poop! They pooped in my room! Thank God for my mosquitera or I’d have bird poop in my bed!

Let me be very clear. I can take a lot of things. I moved to Nicaragua for goodness sake. Two days ago, there were two bats in my room. I handled that fairly well. And when presented with a cockroach, my bottle of Raid prevailed. But at least bats are blind and when they heard me, they exited stage left. BUT THIS IS ANOTHER LEVEL OF TRAVESTY THAT I WILL NOT STAND FOR! Birds! Birds?! In my home. No sir, no ma’am. So this is a call. I need an answer. We need a resolution. Here are photos of my roof. Anyone, living in Nicaragua, the States, man, woman or child, I beg of you to give me an idea on how to close these roof slots off. I WILL find a ladder to get up there if someone tells me what to do. I don’t think my heart can take another bird attack. 

PS I have decided to call my mosquitera “Old Faithful” from now on. Clearly, it’s the only thing standing between me and a very poopy awakening. 

Day 110

Today I went zip ling! I’ve never been and have been wanting to go for awhile. Why not have my first time with a group of volunteers? For $15 we travel 8 lines and hiked back up the range. It took about an hour and was super fun! The trip took all day. I had to wake up at 4 am to catch the 5 am bus to get to Jinotega at 10 am. But it was so worth it! I wish I had a gopro. It would have been cool to record my reactions to the first few lines. Still, day well spent! Afterwards, we all had lunch and I bussed back home instead of couch surfing. I’m exhausted and thankful tomorrow is Sunday. I need a day of rest. Maybe next week, I’ll search for a church. 

Day 108

Took a trip to Managua to pick up my meds from the office because allergies are still a thing even here. While there, I decided to use the great wifi. I saw many disturbing and sad things. Charleston church shooting and several articles on police brutality. I cannot ignore the war being waged on my family, my community, my people. Although there isn’t racism here, my skin is still a constant distraction here. In American, my skin could cause me to be profiled, followed, attacked without just cause or not hired. Here, my skin is embraced as something exotic. It’s different and strange and considered beautiful. Something weird that they want to touch. I am still seen more like an animal that human. People touch my hair without asking or assume I am from the Coast. I am a peace corps volunteer of color. I can’t say it bothers me too much here because diversify is so prominent on the job and in the work force. But it does color my experiences and change how I react to things. I hope and have been successful already in educating the differences of Americans. I am an American even though I’m not white and this is what that means. I pray places like Ferguson, Baltimore and the world one day get to such a place mentally before more horrifying things happen. It breaks my heart to see such pain in my communty but I am here fighting the same cause and am hopeful every time I see the difference I make.

Day 107

Today was a day full of patience. I got into a small confrontation with my family. Situations like this are always hard. Why? Well language barrier. It just is an ever presence wall. Then cultural barriers. Sometimes I don’t know what’s best to do. I could accidentally offend my family. Past volunteers have done that before and been asked to find a new place to live because of cultural miscommunications. So the issue was rent. I have a contract that says I pay one amount for food and one amount for rent without food. However this month specifically, I spent the first almost two weeks in my training town. I wasn’t allowed to come to my site until I finished a few Spanish classes. So I did the math and paid my site mom for the time i would be where this month. She insisted I pay the rest. I tried to explain that was it. There was no more because I wasn’t here for two weeks. We went in circles, repeating the same things in Spanish. She went and got my contract and told me to read it. Now here’s the funny thing about learning a new language. You can see the words, know how to pronounce the words because you’ve learned letters and still not know what the word means. It’s hard to imagine yourself as a child but when children start reading they ask their parents what every new word they see means. Because they can read but they have no understanding. That’s what it was like reading the peace corp contract. I could read he words and I got the overall gist but I wasn’t sure what all the words actually meant. I offered to call my boss for clarification. My mom insisted I wait for her husband to try and translate better. I think she thought if I called my boss somehow Id be mad. I admit, I was frustrated. I mean I was exhausted, had a serious headache and do not like being treated like I’m stupid but I wasn’t mad. More so tentative because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and risk my new home. Thankfully, someone from peace corps called me back and translated and crisis averted. I’m proud of myself for remembering through the entire ordeal to breathe, ask for patience and pray. Usually, in situations like this I do get mad. I don’t like misunderstandings. But I asked God to let me gain patience by being here. Test number one came and I passed! #inyourfacedevil

That night I taught my first yoga class in Spanish! We forgot to promote it because my sitemates didn’t get back until today and I wasn’t going to have the first class without them. All in all I say it was successful! It was small but beautiful. Afterwards, we drank tea. I love Nicaragua. Same time, same place, next week, same class. This time I’ll be ready. More people are coming. I’m trying to find a place in the states that will donate yoga mats for the women here. It’s expensive for them and they need the exercise. Fingers crossed the NGO we emailed writes back.