Friday, February 15, 2008

PC adventures, Episode I

I hope that this works. I figured out how to make videos on our computer. Hope you enjoy this. I am working on episode 2.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Dancing in the Plaza

One of the floats that was in the parade


“Paradise doesn’t come for free,” …………
-Dr. “Death” Maricio Peralta
……..that’s for damn sure!

This quote was relayed to us by our wonderfully colorful and morbid Medical Officer during the countless medical sessions we were forced to endure during training. I didn’t know how true these words would turn out to be.
Let me just start by saying I truly love Bolivia and have enjoyed almost every minute of our time here (I’m being honest by saying “almost” because, believe me, there have been days). Now that that’s out of the way, I can pass on a story about my first experience with bug bites, namely flea bites. One day after language class, I was just itchy. I lifted my pant leg to discover red, swollen, “picaduras” or bites as we call them. I asked Mike if he had anything like it, he didn’t. I wasn’t sure what to think, especially after the many talks of Malaria and Dengue Fever passed on by mosquitoes, so the next day I had the doctor look at them. She just laughed at me. Her response was, “sorry, there’s nothing we can do, you just must be sweeter than your husband¨. Valid medical advice.
In the states, you take for granted little things like, let’s say, flea medicine for dogs. I guess I should back up and tell you that stray dogs are part of daily life and a guarantee in every city, pueblo and village you go to in Bolivia. With this comes the uncontrolled fleas, which decided that the tall gringa was tasty and sent out an APB to the rest of the fleas in Bolivia. At this point in time, I think a majority of these pesky insects here have gotten a sample! Now, luckily I have friends with the same flea problem, you could call us a “flea support group”. We have come up with wearing “OFF” as our daily lotion and going thru pounds of antihistamine cream as a coping mechanism.
I do have to say thought that I am lucky. We are in an area of the country that doesn’t have mosquito’s most of the year, which eliminates that risk for Malaria and Dengue Fever . Also alleviating us from taking the Malaria meds that bring with them hallucinogenic dreams and the sweats as well as a headache for your liver. I hear from our fellow comrades that these drugs are “interesting."
In general, the insects here are somewhat fascinating. I saw a bee that was the size of my fist- no joke! And the moths here look like a new species of birds. I won’t even mention the cochroaches. This leads me to say that the vegitation, including the flowers here are beautiful and exotic, nothing like the flowers we see in the states, breeding the need for the different insects. You will see callalilies growing wild and jasmine is everywhere. I think the smell of jasmine will forever remind me of Bolivia.
The idea Dr. Death gave us that paradise has its costs is true. Everything has it’s balance, in Bolivia is just happens to be terrible disease carried by irritating “bichus” or bugs and fleas but beautiful flowers that give “paradise” it’s atmosphere. All in all, the itches I have are worth every minute of living the life we have been blessed with here. It makes you realize life isn’t always comfortable and most of the people in the world don’t have the luxuries we are accustomed to and at times expect. I consider the bites my reminder of this. Who knew flea bites would make me so thankful and introspective-hmmmm….. God works in mysterious ways, even thru fleas.