What´s Normal Anyway?

This week has consisted mostly of running around organizing things for the Senior Citizen Health Fair next week. I think my instincts were right about the effects of my crying in front of Senora Nelly and the other volunteers last week. Nelly has been on her best behavior this week, calling me and letting me know exactly where we were going and when. I don’t know if this trend will continue, but it’s been nice. Yesterday we had a workshop on children’s rights. It was interesting, plus I got to meet some more volunteers from the committee. I have had quite a bit of comic relief from the family parrot this week. He has decided that he is in love with the neighbor, and has taken to following her around, singing to her. He even tried to cross the street to get to her!

The thing that has struck me most this week is the physical challenges I have had to account for since I moved to my site. Of course I was expecting challenges in stress, language, communication, etc. but I severely underestimated the physical challenges. My body is tired and beat up. I have near constant redness on my face from the sun even though I always apply sun block to my face and am often wearing a baseball hat and/or sunglasses. I have tons of mosquito bites even though I consistently wear repellent and sleep under a mosquito net. Thanks to the aforementioned sun block and repellent, plus the fact that I am sweating all the time, my skin is breaking out. I am congested due to all the dust, and I have bruises on my back, hips, and legs from riding on dirt roads in the back of pickup trucks for the medical brigades. Because it is so hot and sunny, it is difficult to stay hydrated, and I have trouble sleeping as a side effect of my malaria medication. All of these factors have left me in pretty rough shape. I am hoping that my body will adjust to a lot of this with some more time, but I think some of it I will just have to learn to deal with.

Speaking of adjustment, I find myself in a strange phase of it right now. I feel like I have already fallen into certain patterns and habits, so that at times I “forget” what an unusual situation I am in, living in a foreign country and all. It’s amazing the things that quickly become “normal”, like speaking Spanish instead of English, showering with a bucket of cold water, not having running water, waking up at the crack of dawn, riding around in the back of pickup trucks, or seeing 4 people crammed onto a motorcycle. Then something REALLY different happens, like someone rides by on a donkey, my neighbor serves me soup with a chicken foot floating in it, or a gecko pops out of my shoe, and that’s when I remember… aha… I am living in a totally different environment/culture. It’s awesome if you think about it, how many changes a person can get used to!


3 responses to this post.

  1. A chicken foot floating in your soup? That is just bizarre! I think that once you live there for a few more months, your body will acclimate to the climate. Think positive!


  2. Posted by Lauren on September 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Katrinita–absolutely. Did you eat the chicken foot? At least when it’s in soup it can be sort of hidden under broth and maybe some potato chunks haha!! I have so much respect for you; in all my ecua time i have never showed in a bucket. Actually, or really spent very much time in a really rural area. It must be so frustrating but you have such an amazing attitude about it. Hang in there…… I am moving on the 2nd so I will let you know my ecua number as soon as i have one.


  3. Hey Lauren! I couldn`t do it lol. I ate literally everything in the bowl except for the foot. Maybe next time I will be braver haha. You will have to come visit and experience coastal rural ecuador! I am super excited for you to get here!


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