February 24, 2011
Woof. Nothing says “Good Morning, NICARAGUA!” quite like the dull ache of a 6 am wake-up call and the sight of heat literally rolling off our bodies. Yep, there it rolls… It is futile to say that this country is HOT, but here I go anywhere: Hace color! Rendezvousing with the Nicaraguan heat feels much like I would imagine the pig feels at a pig roast; it feels like stepping out of the shower only to be dripping with droplets not five minutes later. And we’re not talking droplets of water… Let’s just say by the end of the clinics each day, we certainly are crashing down the stereotype that all Americans look like they just stepped off the cover of Vogue… With hair plastered to our tired faces and clothing soaked through, it’s more like we all just stepped off of the cover of Horse & Hound!… Never again will I look upon the phrases “shower” and “air-conditioning” with anything short of the utmost reverence.
The kids at the clinics are perpetually amazed at our American accessories, gazing in awe at their visages reflected in our aviators, wanting to touch my lip ring, and calling out with excited yelps at candies and toys which appear sporadically out of the scrub pockets of the medical students.
Yesterday at the Batahola clinic, a young 7-year-old named Alvaro spent the better half of 20 minutes trailing behind me during my pilgrimage throughout the clinic before I bent down and asked him if he would like to help me. I taught him how to aim the camera and push the buttons and after a few trial shots where the subjects of the photos were mostly feet, he was off and running excitedly about, pointing at all potential pictures – a bus roaring by, his mother, the street. Eventually even I became the subject of some of his pictures, with him gleefully pointing where I should pose as he ran across the yard to capture the shot. He eventually shrieked in delight as he stuffed the lens in to the face of his mother… I now have the cutest pictures of him, as well as 83 pictures of the insides of his mother’s nostril.
On a final side note: I had my first cup of coffee recently. Now, I want to be a journalist and granted, nothing completes the picture of a frazzled writer always on the chase for the next great story more than a pen in one hand and a cup of Jo in the other. I desperately want to be a coffee-drinker – if not to complete the journalist complex than for the caffeine jolt. Yet I can’t coax my body to accept it as friend and not foe.
Until now. Nicaragua has finally provided the right environment for coffee to become my gateway drug.
Not a fan?
You try working 8-hour days in a Nicaraguan medical clinic and it’s guaranteed to change your tune. Or at least your taste buds.