February 4th, 2010 by INMED
Posted in Uncategorized|
Cultural clashes—yesterday (Wednesday) I went on home visits in a very poor area. The families felt that it was sooo important that the muzungus have a place to sit and we not be inconvenienced in taking off our shoes before we entered (even though everyone else did). My thoughts were, of course, that I want to be as gracious and least a hassle as possible, but given my skin color and occupation, that is not possible. This also happens in the clinic were others tend to wait on me, and while I love having my tea brought to me everyday midmorning (I still think we need tea time built into our day), I feel soooo lazy and unhelpful. I guess I’ll just have to be nice to strangers back home to alleviate some of my guilt.
So I think going to Costa Rica as my first real international experience at the wise age of 20 ruined (which isn’t quite the right word) other international experiences for me. First of all I was there for three months and soooo didn’t want to leave at that time. But for a developing country it was doing many things right. Where many post-colonial countries were plagued with civil wars and outside interferers, it wasn’t. It had peaceful transitions of power. Thus it was able to pave roads, set up a reliable public transportation network, socialize health care, and build industries (mostly tourism, coffee, and banana). By the end, things were starting to make sense to me, not that it wasn’t without its problems. Maybe because I wasn’t in Honduras or here as long, but I still think it would have taken longer for me to try to understand things (but probably not, it’s hard as a gringa or muzungu to accept lack of reliable postal system or banks or roads or random power outages or random farm animals, cows, goats, chickens, etc in the city). Regardless, this is still a wonderful place to be and I’m glad I’m here (FYI, it’s about 10pm, I’m sitting in my room, window and door open and still sweating; it must have been close to 90 today with considerable humidity; I wish I had a fan or a/c).
The people I saw in the community were quite sick. At Memorial I’m sure they’d have been admitted to staff medicine (and probably wouldn’t leave the service for at least a week, I may be exaggerating a little, can you tell I’m not looking forward to starting medicine again), but here they were told to keep there clinic appointment on Friday. One had TB (man I hope I don’t convert, I don’t want to have to have be on INH—nine months with no alcohol; no I’m not a lush) and the other was quite anemic with fever, so I really hope he doesn’t have malaria on top of anemia likely due to AZT. I was in a community sort of on the outskirts of the city. They were very poor. Open sewage, sketchy electricity, who know what kind of toilets, crowded, I don’t know what was holding up or together the buildings. Yet on the way out of town, a likely three-year-old boy ran after us yelling muzungu quite loudly (it totally made me smile).
Before the community visits, there was a CME on new . It was a very quick overview, but quite interesting. Part of me is amazed at the drugs that are available here and the other part of me wishes they had more. They are quite reliant on the US at the moment for many of their meds and that funding is set to end towards the end of this year. So this is what happens when I walk home by myself…I analyze what I’ve seen!