Friday, December 21, 2007

Under My Mosquito Net

Merry Christmas everyone!

I´m writing this right now under the protection of my mosquito net. There are so many mosquitoes and huuuuge spiders! Anyways, how is everyone doing? I hope all your Christmas shopping and preparing is going well. I wish I could be there to celebrate with everyone. I´m feeling kind of homesick right now!

Christmas here is a little different. Every day from the 15th on, there´s a little ceremony in someone´s house at 6pm where someone reads from the Bible and then we sing/chant Christmas songs while clapping hands and banging sticks on used soap bottles in the candlelight. My Spanish still isn´t the best, so I´m not positive what the next few days are going to be like. From what I´ve gathered, I think we go to church on Christmas Eve and then we eat a huge dinner consisting of pork, chicken, beef, salami, platanos, yuca, rice, beans, etc. Then we dance a lot of Bachata and Merengue. I don´t think we actually do much of anything on Christmas Day, but I´ll let you know if I´m wrong. Last night, I was awaken by the singing and banging through the streets at 5am until 7am. Apparently this is a carolling tradition for the next three days, so it doesn´t look like I´m going to be getting much sleep.

I´m settled pretty well into my little casita. The fam is great and they are very protective of me. Sometimes I feel like I´m 5 years old again. My only complaint is the food. There´s not much to buy in the colmados (mini stores) here. Basically, I eat 2 hot dog buns and really chocolately hot chocolate for breakfast. Lunch consists of rice, beans, chicken, water, and coffee. Dinner varies from toasted bread/cheese sandwiches to spaghetti and noodle soup to salami and fried platanos. Sometimes there´s fried eggs and juice too. Other times it´s just 2 hot dog buns and more hot chocolate. One night, I even ate pig heart, chicken heart, chicken feet, and pig intestine. I felt like I was on Fear Factor! Once I start working on nutrition in the community, maybe we can plant a garden here.

My work is going pretty well. I have walked all over my community, which takes hours to find all the hidden houses. There´s about 7 or 8 different parts tothe community. Some places are really difficult to get to because the roads are often really muddy and you have to cross shallow rivers. I thought walking on ice is difficult, but mud is a whole different story. My host sisters love to watch me try to maneuver through the streets. I´ve actually fallen over a few times. Almost everyday I come home with my feet covered in mud.

Anyways, I have drawn a map of the campo and now I´m starting to visit houses door to door interviewing the women about their health practices. Some of the answers I´m getting are really interesting and surprising. Gripe (colds), fever, and parasites seem to be major issues here as well as general nutrition and health knowledge. As for nonrelated health projects, they really want a bridge put in over the major river we have to cross to get from the main road to the campo.

Well, that´s all for now. I´m going to go watch a novela (Spanish soap opera) and teach my host sister some English. She´s really interested! Hope all is well back in the states!

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo!


bobd said...

keep up the good work kim...merry xmas..stay safe

jakel said...


We are thinking of you. My boys and I pray for you at their bedtime. May God bless you and we will continue to pray for the work that you do.

Jessi Christensen
Thornapple Community