Hello everyone! I made it here to Oaxaca for my Child Family Health International program. I am just starting my 2nd week here. My host family includes a retired Mother in her 50s named Mercedes and her elderly mother Coco (who couldnt be more cute). They are both so nice and wonderful cooks! Mercedes´ daughter is also often there with her 1 year old twins. The house is clean and comfortable, so I am very lucky. I live right in the central part of town so I am in walking distance of the Zocalo (main square), my school, and a lot of fun bars and restaurants. I arrived last Sunday evening and got started on my program right away. I go to a clinic from 8 to 1 everyday and then go home for Comida (main meal) and then have spanish classes from 4-6. I get to change clinics ever week, so I can experience a variety of things. This week I was in a clinic about 5 blocks away from my home. I spent a few days with the nurses who were giving vacinations. One day I went with the clinic Health Promotors out into the community. We went from house to house inquiring about their health and the health of everyone living in the home. We check on people that we know are sick to make sure they are okay and even those that arent just so they know we are good resource if they need anything. I also spent one day with a doctor seeing patients with general health complaints. I have been learning a lot about the health care system here and a lot of Spanish. Its very different seeing healthcare practices here. For one thing they dont have as many resources, or the same standards of sanitation, as least compared the hospital I worked at in Minnesota.
I am the only student in my level of Spanish, so I get a teacher all to my self, its really great and I feel like I´m finally making progress. I just started intercambio, where I meet with a Spanish speaker from here that is trying to learn English. We talk for a half hour in English and then a half hour in Spanish a few afternoons of the week. So I am getting lots of practice and of course talking with my host family. My frist weekend here was a lot of fun. Friday night we checked out La Candela, a restaurant/bar that has live Latin music. We got free dance lessons and then burned up the dance floor for the rest of the night dancing Salsa, Merenge and Bachata. It was a blast! Saturday I went ot Monte Alban, an ancient city ruin site just outside of the city. Our guide told us that they have uncovered only about 3 percent of the city, leaving the other 97 percent underground. There are amazing views of the whole valley of Oaxaca from there. It was a kinda rainy, cloudy day, but still very interesting. Saturday night be tried out a disco that played modern and techno music. It was a fun young crowd and a good place to dance. I was supprised at how many Americans and travelers were at the bar. Sunday I went with my host family to El Arbol del Tule. If I was told correctly, It has the biggest trunk either in the world or North America. It in the next town over from Oaxaca called Santa Maria. We also ate at the market there and I tried my first Tlayuda. Which is a famous oaxacan dish. Its a super large tortilla with toppping on it such as beans, cheese, avacado, tomato, meat if you want. Its kinda like a tortilla pizza, and delicious. They are also famous for their chocolate here, so I have been drinking a lot of hot chocolate. It tastes darker and fuller here, even though they often make it with water instead of milk. Tomorrow I get to go to a new hospital or clinic to learn some new things. My main doctor here told me I get to spend a week at a natural clinic because I told him I have an interest in alternative medicine, so I am excited for that. I met a salsa instructor this weekend that ofers really cheap group lessons and also a girl that is taking lessons from him right now, so I am going to go check that out tonight after Spanish class. I have been keeping really busy here inbetween clinic, Spanish class, intercambio and studying my Spanish, but as you can tell I have been able to squeeze in time for fun too. I like to walk up to the zocalo just to people watch and get a snack some nights. There are always tons of people and families out and something going on at the zocalo, such as live music or dancing. The streets around it are lined with white holiday lights and the trees are huge and beautiful. The city feels very safe and charming with a lot of travelers passing through. Okay off to Spanish class.
Until next time.....