El Primero Dia

Photos would be so much better, but I am using Robert’s air card, and am in a hurry.  Tomorrow, perhaps.

Today was the first time I have ever done a number of things.  It is the first time I have gone to church in a wall-less building with birds flying and singing in the rafters.  It is the first time I have worked as an interpreter for a medical clinic, and let me tell you, that is a lot harder than it should be — people answer questions with long histories that can be insanely hard to sort out.  It is the first time I have had fried plantains and black beans for breakfast.  It is the first time I have been afraid of water.

Our trip here was so grueling, I cannot be poetic about it.  We got no sleep on Friday night, and the relatively easy trip into Guatemala City turned into a six-hour bus ride to San Jacinto, in a bus with open windows and bullet holes in the windshield.  Do not tell my mother.

We had tamales for dinner, wrapped in plantain leaves, and I went to bed at 8:30.  We got up at six, ate our beans and plantains, and waited for an ancient school bus to take us to church, over an hour away, in a tiny village whose name we were never told.  I felt better; it helps not be be exhausted.

Our first clinic was for the church members themselves.  Tomorrow we will go up into the mountains beyond the church for the first of four mountain clinics.  My Spanish is not as rusty as I feared, but it isn’t up to complicated histories yet.  I am writing tonight in that weird land between languages.  I think sometimes in one language, sometimes in the other, and then I try to translate.  It’s not easy.

Not much here is easy.  It’s hard to keep the water off your face in the shower.  It’s hard to remember to use hand sanitizer every few minutes.  It’s hard to learn new words, cultures, ideas.  But I am working.  It’s fun, though, and I am being pushed outside what I know and understand every minute of the day.  Okay so far.


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