Wednesday, June 30, 2010

a day in the life

my day yesterday:

2 hr express bus to Managua from Matagalpa at 6:00am

Sat in AMC office for 2 hours waiting for a ride to the dentist

Root canal at the "rich people's" oral surgeon who charged me $300...less than my copay in the US

Back to AMC office, ran into my padre de Nica, who offered me a ride back to Matagalpa in the back of his truck

Waited 2 hours for him to return from a mysterious meeting

Loaded 6 cases of latex condoms in the back of the truck.. 43200 in total, boxes marked keep in a dry, cool environment...that my padre says are for the hombres del campo who don't like using them. Public health in the field...picked up 3 family members, and headed to the mall where they bought new clothes. +1 hour.

Then to the Nica version of a Sam's club that I'm pretty sure is owned by Walmart +40 mins

Then to Matagalpa.. 3 - 3.5 hr ride that should've taken 1.5 hours, luckily I was comfy enough to sleep.

I slept on the mini seat with cushioning and felt like I was being smuggled into another country. I'm getting better and better at sleeping anywhere when the need arises.

Arrived home at 8pm, could've been home by 4 if I would've taken the bus, but by far an exciting cultural experience.

Things I'm learning: I have no patience, though I thought I did. Probably in part because I'm used to Philadelphia, but I'm gaining more every day, which is good for me, and character building.

Public health in the field means giving up the best case practice for the overall goal sometimes...i.e. transporting condoms in an open pick up truck ...boxes which are marked "keep in a cool, dry place" ...whilst driving in 90 degree heat in the day and rain after dark.

Is Paul Farmer right that we should not settle for giving poor people just "appropriate" technology that sacrifices quality for quantity....or is that just not realistic in a place where its difficult to accomplish even the quantity part?


Things I love today: the fact that I learned how to talk in future tense. And that Nicaraguans are so patient, and understanding of my poor Spanish grammar. And that they all live together, and love each other regardless, with more patience and sacrifice than I can imagine.

I'm also grateful for the Scottish and Canadian girls down the street who gave me lasagna tonight. Thank God for Italian food when beans and rice just aren't cutting it.

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