It’s been quite some time since I last wrote – I seem to have broken my Sundays blogdays plan – and as my last message was pretty much on the down side it’s time to let you know how I’m doing.
I’m doing better! Thank you all for your kind loving messages, those really did help 🙂 A lot of stuff has been going on since my last post but today I’m not in the mood to give you an extensive detailed report as I did before. So here you go, a short version:
1. The rainy season started but seemed to be taking a break, going from days of being soaked by rain to days of being soaked by sweat (yum). Well, it does make the field work easier when it’s not raining so much that rain boots become foot baths. Much more mosquitoes though now, and dengue and chikungunya are popping up.
2. The car has been acting silly for some time more, leading to frustrations and ideas of selling it and renting a car after all, but in the end we seem to have fixed the most important things. Since last Wednesday we had no problems at all, miraculous!
3. We found a third plantation with bromeliads! Yay! We kept searching but it seems like three is going to be the final number. The farmers here usually remove the bromeliads from the plantations because they (falsely) assume they are parasites. Very frustrating but it does make my research more relevant.
4. Ivania (Marvin’s wife) gave birth to her first baby, the cutest little boy called Marvin Ivan that likes to sleep during the day and spends all night awake.
5. I developed a nasty fungal infection on my leg that was falsely assumed to be Leishmania three (three!) times. Today I finally got the verdict that it isn’t Leishmania, after spending a week uselessly putting an antibiotic ointment because they thought it was a bacterial infection. The treatment of the local Leishmania is a series of 40 injections, one every day, you can imagine how glad I am that it’s a fungus! I almost cried when they told me about the 40 injections when it seemed certain that I was infected with Leishmania. :p
Now they gave me two ointments to put but with the message that I’d better put mashed young leaves of a tree named Madero Negro, or even better to use Hombre Grande. My first thought was Giorgia’s story; when she got bitten by a monkey in Kenia, they tried to cure it by putting papaya on the wound. But people seem very convinced about Madero Negro so I’ll give it a try, using it together with the creams.And wow, the hospital here… Shocking for someone used to first world medical care. Beds that have been urinated upon and that haven’t been cleaned, the same for beds with pools of bloods as if a woman just gave birth in it, smears of blood on the walls, lots of flies and mosquitoes (perfect place to get infected with dengue or chikungunya), chickens walking though the laboratory, a doctor that didn’t use gloves to take a sample of my wound which I only noticed afterwards when he was pointing out that he just got rid of a fungal infection on his finger nail, a nurse washing her muddy shoes in the laboratory’s sink… Overall just not most hygienic conditions. But it is really good that they have at least some kind of medical care here, imagine having to spend four to six hours in bus to get to the city every time you need to see a doctor. All kinds of emergencies would be lethal in that case.
Oh and apart from the infection on my leg, I also have a fungal infection in my mouth and very probable a parasite in my intestines (yes, I’m taking medication, no worries). Gotta love the tropics 🙂
6. I finally met another student here! Esther is French and is also working on cacao. She focusses more on the economical side of it since she’s working for Equitable, a French company that buys Waslaleñan cacao. It’s for sale, so you can even try to get some! Only for dark chocolate lovers though, it’s bars of 70% cocoa. (I am still amazed about living in a cacao producing area without being able to find any kind of chocolate but Snickers and M&M’s.)
It’s really nice to finally have someone to talk to that really understands how I’m feeling about Waslala and about living here. And about living abroad for a long periods of time. Esther and I really have a lot in common from that point of view so our cooking dates are always fun. And our Sundays, pizzeria days plan is also something I very much like :p
7. I should really start to take pictures. The only ones I have are of cacao trees, bromeliads, car trouble and the fungal infection on my leg… Not really the most exciting collection of subjects when repeated over and over again :p
Well, here are some less boring pictures, phone quality snorry
(p.s. I wrote this a couple of days ago, was waiting for the internet to be able to post. For those worrying about the fungi, it seems like the treatments are working, looks much better now 🙂 )