Home Sweet Home?

I’ve been home for almost two weeks now, and I’m still not totally readjusted to the “American way of life.” I wish I could still speak Spanish to everyone, but unfortunately nobody else in my family understands me. That said, there are a lot of things that I’m happier about at home – I can sleep in, I don’t have the stress of not understanding a language, and I can flush my toilet paper. I will always remember this experience, and if I can repeat it sometime, because it was so different and incredible compared to what I’m used to.

Since I didn’t post any pictures during my trip, I have to post all of them now. There are a lot, but I had to sort through more than 500 to get the good ones. They start at the clinic in Santa Lucia, with the doctors and the Paquete Basico – the mobile health care that our brigade took out to outlying centers for health. In the middle of those are a couple pictures of the trip we took to Rio Torola separating Honduras from El Salvador. After those pictures are some more clinic pics, then my stay in La Ceiba, where I didn’t take many pictures. One of the days that week Alex and I went with a friend of a friend Matt to see where he lived, in a community that lived on a dump. After that, I flew home. Enjoy!

This will probably be my last post for Senior Projects, so thank you all for following me and if you have any questions feel free to email me.

Muchos Gracias a todos!

Alex

The two sides of Honduras

I´m afraid that I was mixed up the last time I posted, and posted in the wrong place. You can find my other posts at http://alexesinhonduras.wordpress.com/.

Today I find myself a long ways away from where I was the last time I posted, both physically and emotionally. After spending 2 weeks translating for the medical students, I traveled first to El Progreso for a night and then to La Ceiba, where I am now. I am going to school at the La Ceiba Bilingual School for a week before I depart to the states. My host family is incredibly nice, and everyone in the whole country is very friendly, but still it´s un poco stressful for me to be immersed in the language, combined with the need to be polite and happy for my hosts. Every day (today at least), my host family and I wake up at 5 in the morning, eat a quick breakfast, maybe shower, put on uniforms, and speed off for school at a little after 6. Today we were late, so my host sisters had detention, where they had to write 1000 lines. And I thought Westtown could be harsh – but luckily since I´m an exchange student I am impervious to rules. I still felt bad for Stephania and Rossanita, because they took the punishment and didn´t complain a bit. After 8 45-minute class periods and a 15-minute lunch, all the students had an hour or so before sports began to spend time and actually talk to each other, as if they didn´t talk in class. All of the students are polite and friendly, there are just some teachers who are overly forceful with rules. During the sports time, all the soccer players, futbolistas, run onto the field and kick balls around, much more skillfully than I ever could. After that, all the girls had volleyball practice, then everyone had dance practice. By the end of dance practice, it´s already 7 PM, a horribly long day. This is a good week as closure for my trip, to really test my abilities.

Last week, at the clinic in Santa Lucia, I finally was able to be useful as a translator, once I had learned all the important words. If the patient says ¨tengo dolor de todo el cuerpo¨ it means ¨my whole body hurts¨, and then they get diez pastillas de acetomenophin o ibuprofena, para tomar uno cada dia cuando usted tiene dolor – 10 acetaminophen or ibuprofen pills, to take one every day when you have pain. It´s really not super complicated, except for when the patient tries to tell you their life story in the middle of a consult. This tends to apply to most of the patients, so it´s my job to sort out useful information that the doctors want to hear from random facts about life. Sometimes that can be hard, especially when you had no idea you were going to be a translator and only have basic Spanish training. I came out alright, because I always had help if I needed it. This week, I´m not so lucky. I´ll try to keep you posted on how it goes.

-Alex