My First Trip to the Hospital and other Details
As I have said, we were eating different foods that sometimes had dangerous bacteria in them. This time, the culprit was a meat stuffed green pepper that had giardia in it. Both M. and I got sick, but I seemed sicker, and so Peace Corps sent me to the hospital for the weekend. I remember it felt and sounded like I had a lion in my stomach. While I was at the hospital, I requested some paper, and wrote letters to friends and relatives about my time there. I remember thinking that the hospital was pretty nice, and I felt well taken care of. In fact, I told some doctors who were visiting me, about how well I was treated.
We were getting evaluated for our performance in the program, and the instructors told me that if I didn't do better with the tools, I might have to leave. We had to know how to use a pickax, a machete, and a shovel for our work. It was really stressful, because I didn't want to leave, of course. I had a special lesson with my favorite teacher, and things worked out. It turned out that I really didn't need all those skills that much, because the farmers didn't really want to see me working that hard. Some, just wanted me to be around.
During this time of transition, M. and I went to Tela on the North Coast of Honduras. We had lived quite frugally our first two months of training, spending lots of time with our family, and not much time at the bar, unlike some of our compatriots! This wasn't always the case with me, but this particular group didn't inspire me to party.
During our trip to Tela, we thought we would stay at a roach motel the first night, and then move to something nicer. Actually, this certainly happened. The first morning of our trip, I looked in the shower, and sure enough there was a big cockroach; so, we moved! That was quite a shock, but not really, considering our location, the humidity, and the cleanliness.
We got to our new room, which cost about $10, all of which was covered by the Peace Corps. It was very nice and right on the beach! The first thing we did was sit and watch two hours of MTV in the air conditioning! That was the best, since we hadn't experienced either of these things for about two months! After relaxing in our room, we went to the beach and had a nice drink and dinner. The next day, we stayed in Tela, but we heard about Trujillo a Garifuna Village located four hours away. We took a hot and crowded bus east, and spent the day there going to the beach, and then buying some sweet bread from a young man, who was forcing it on us. That was a nice break from the training group. I'm sure everyone felt the same way, but we only spent $20 of our own money. We went the farthest and spent the least, because we had saved so much!
We were looking forward to some new blood and the business group was on it's way. I was hopeful. There were some interesting people in the group, and at least something new. At this point, everyone separated, and lived one volunteer to a family. I stayed with the G's., and M. moved to another house. We all still saw each other at training, but not the whole time, because we were in skill level groups for Spanish. I was in a group with two trainees and one Honduran teacher. We talked in Spanish all morning, telling stories, in the past and imperfect tenses, and slowly advancing to other forms. One of the guys had been evacuated from PC Haiti, and had a lot of stories to tell, and the other was an adopted Korean. In the afternoon, we had cross-cultural training, and agriculture classes.
Cross-cultural classes included such things as discussing about Mayans, and those that proceeded the current natives. We did skits and took classes about how the Mayans had lived. We did plays about their violent football game that ended in murder of the loser, and we discussed the calendar. These classes also included intercultural dating, and how to comport oneself in the culture. During this time, we continued getting to know our families, and reaching out to locals to practice the job of Agricultural Extentionist. We visited a few ideal farms, to see what we were aiming for in the future. Some trainees were replacing people at these advanced locations, and others were going somewhere new to start from scratch. We didn't know who would do what, but we were all optimistic. For some people, it did prove too hard, though.
Now, that I was alone with the family, things started getting a little more interesting. Early on, our host mother took us somewhere which turned out to be the family land. I had no idea what was happening, but M. had deciphered that it was their land. After this we said, "Hondurans are very mysterious!" Of course, they became less mysterious, as we learned more Spanish, but to this day, they still are!
So, I was thinking that they were very mysterious, and I was living there among them. My host mother's nephew, L. started talking to me more. One time, he asked me to come to his soccer game. Another time, he wanted me to go for a walk with his parents and him to what I learned was their farm. At this location, there was a beautiful view of the capital, Tegucigalpa. The third time, we went for a walk, and everything was going well, when he asked me something about being his girlfriend. He repeated what he was trying to say in three different ways. I finally understood the word "secreta". He was asking me to be his secret girlfriend, because he didn't want his other girlfriend to know. Well, needless to say, I learned how to say, "no quiero ser su segunda novia!", or "I don't want to be your second girlfriend"! We walked down the hill together, but that was the end of that. A year later, when he was making moves on another new trainee, I told her this story. What an adventure!