3-9-10, New Friends
The three guests from Guatemala arrived late last night around 11pm. I was still up so I heard the door buzz. Kathy and Cecilia had gone to bed. They told me to call them if I heard the people arrive last night but not to answer the door. I called them and they greeted the guests. They are here to learn about the pure water project going on here in El Salvador. Then I eventually went to bed.
When I returned home from my morning classes Kathy told me that I had missed the fumigation. “Pobre zancudos (poor mosquitoes)” Cecilia said to me when I walked in. I certainly don’t feel bad for them. I’m glad they’re gone. Miserable little bugs.
They are fumigating every house and business in Berlín to get rid of the mosquitoes. This is to prevent the spread of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever for which there is no vaccine. Since there is no vaccine to prevent dengue other methods of prevention are key. This includes putting little bleach bags in the pilas to kill the larva, washing clothes and bedding every seven days to get rid of any larva, eliminating standing water and things that can gather water such as tires, and fumigation. This information is printed in the newspapers every day in El Salvador.
Dengue fever is a disease spread by mosquitoes. The symptoms are headaches, muscle pain, fever, and a rash. There is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection. People who have it should take acetaminophen, rest, drink, plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, avoid mosquito bites, and consult a physician.
In El Salvador in 2009 by the seventh week of the year there were 495 suspected cases of dengue, 126 confirmed cases of dengue, and 5 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever. During the seventh week of this year there were already 2,160 suspected cases of dengue, 1,530 confirmed cases of dengue, and 34 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever. As of right now, the tenth week of the year, there have been 1,985 confirmed cases of dengue.
I opened up the door to my room and a wave of nasty fumes hit me in the face. Ick!! I tried not to breathe. I didn’t go back in there for a while. I asked Kathy if the fumes were harmful. “Yes,” they are harmful and you are supposed to leave your house while they fumigate and not return until “the dust settles”. It makes one wonder about the people doing the fumigating. They were only wearing little face masks that covered their nose and mouth. That can’t be safe.
Kathy said she saw a mosquito flying in the house a half hour after the fumigation and was wondering why it was still there. Maybe the fumes are only harmful to humans and aren’t harmful to the mosquitoes (wouldn’t that be a riot). Seriously though, the fumigation does help and it does kill some mosquitoes, but it’s not the most effective method of prevention.
When I got home this afternoon from class three more people had arrived from the states. Bob Cook, who helped to establish Our Sister Parish, and his son Jason from Des Moines are here. Also, Kimberly from Newton is here for a month to teach English at Brisas del Sol. I sat around and talked to them for a while. Our personalities clicked right away. Kimberly and I have discovered that we have a lot in common. Very cool, especially since we’re roomies. I wish I was staying longer so we’d have more time to hang out!
After a while Bob and Jason were going downtown so Kathy, Kimberly, and I went along. We all stopped for ice cream at La Neveria, except Kathy who had a coffee drink. It was a special day (because so many people had arrived at the Casa) so I got a double scoop of ice cream: mango and raspberry. After eating us ladies walked to an earring store so I could buy some earrings to take home. They lady had lots of earrings for pretty decent prices.
We walked around downtown for a while to see what was going on. We saw John Lennon and Elvis Presley at the market. Seriously, we did. The dad named his kids John Lennon and Elvis Presley. No joke. Kathy and I both got to hold John Lennon. He was pretty darn cute. We also talked to Haydee, Mily’s mom, and Carla, who is a transvestite, for a while. Good times. I met a lot cool of people today.
Back at the house we sat around and chatted at the table over pan dulce and coffee (tea for me). It’s nice to have other people around. The conversation was half in English and half in Spanish. It’s been a lot of fun talking to different people and switching back and forth between Spanish and English. There definitely isn’t a lack of conversation. David and I joked with each other quite a bit because he is a psychologist and I’m a social worker. And some good news: Jason convinced Kathy to drive us to the beach tomorrow. YES!!! I am so excited! I really wanted to go to the beach but didn’t know if we had time. So I am super pumped!
Dinner tonight was pupusas. You can never eat too many pupusas. I had three. We’d had a discussion earlier about Bob wanting more cheese in his pupusas and Blanca saying he didn’t need to have any more cheese because of all the fat. Oh, fun times. We all ate and laughed and had a good time. We talked about politics, El Salvador, Spanish, and lots of other things. By the end of dinner the conversation had turned serious talking about poverty and hunger. There is a lot of joy but also great sadness here.
After dinner seven of us went out to see the festivities downtown. We looked at the food, saw what they were selling, and bought a few things. I got some delicious candy from one of the many candy stands. Then we came upon the Ferris wheel. Alejandro and I bravely decided to go on it. Now, I’m not afraid of Ferris wheels, but Ferris wheels in El Salvador make me nervous. I was especially nervous because I saw how they were setting it up a few days ago. The guys were climbing up the Ferris wheel without harnesses putting things together by hand. As I was on it tonight I thought of them screwing it together piece by piece. They also made it go very fast which didn’t excite me too much. But I survived and can proudly say I rode a Ferris wheel in El Salvador.
Then David wanted to go on the bumper cars. So he, Alejandro, and I bought tickets. It was lots of fun ramming into each other. And now I can say I drove in El Salvador. We may be going back sometime this week. I’m seriously considering the small roller coaster. After all, the wheel on an airplane could fall on my head tomorrow (see yesterday’s bog). On the way back to the house I ran into one of my students and stopped to talk to him for a while. Back at the house we had some Dos Equis and chatted a while longer. We discovered we were all on Facebook and promptly friended each other. For a while David couldn’t access his Facebook page and I thought he didn’t have one. But we eventually figured it out. David, Kimberly, and I stayed up late talking about Facebook and mental disorders. I have a feeling we’ll be having many late night talks.
Riding the bumper cars!!
Riding the Ferris wheel. I look like I'm asleep.
p.s. I just saw a mosquito fly by