Diarrhea Diaries

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It only took one day for The Diarrhea to claim its' first victim from our group. Between stomach issues, sunburns, blisters and overheating, we have had at least one person down per day. But luckily no one has had any really serious problems and everyone has been recovering pretty quickly. Which is good since we have so many things to pack into two weeks for this project.  This is the 3rd implementation trip our group has made, and we hope that the next trip with be for the installation of the water system.

My part in the project is on the community education side, so I have spent most of my days so far sitting in on meeting with the communities and their water boards.  Most of the engineers are working on technical aspects, going out and surveying the community for the system designs and gathering water and soil samples.  I got to join the engineers a couple times this week. I enjoyed being able to see what they do and getting to walk around the communities.  They have been measuring the water tap locations at every house so I got to talk with the families that live there and take in the landscape. And there never fails to be a trail of children following after us. They love staring and giggling at us.  As I was watching one of these trails of engineers and children from my water board meeting on a porch nearby, it made me laugh to see a young Honduran girl walking behind one of our female engineers with light hair, reaching out and touching her hair with curiosity, well another Honduran teenager behind her kept slapping her hand away to keep her from doing it. The whole time this was happening, the engineer was completely oblivious to the commotion her hair was making. 

It's interesting, part of my work here is doing sanitation education, but I have definitely been learning a lot about sanitation as well.  Mainly that sanitation is a lot harder here; no wonder diarrheal diseases are such a problem.  There is only running water for parts of each day, if at all.  It is super hot, humid and dusty.  There are animals, and therefore their poop, pretty much everywhere.  I went to wash my hands the other day and found some little wormy things swimming around in the water bucket that we use to wash our hands (I think they were mosquito larvae). When I went to bed last night I found two ticks in my bed. (None attached to me yet, so that's good.  Although I may just be missing them since the freckles I have all over my body are the same color as the ticks I found haha). This trip has also been my first time having to shower out of a bucket, which is actually not too bad, it just takes longer since you can only use one hand to wash while pouring the water over your body with the other hand.  The diligent hand washer that I am has been really struggling to feel clean with the conditions here.  I hope that this project will at least get rid of the water scarcity barrier.

Anyway we are staying very busy and learning and experiencing many new things every day. While doing a group Skype meeting at the internet café in town to EWB members in the US the other night, one of the engineers Robert, and I started playing a ¨how many unusual things will walk right by the front door ¨ game. We had a piglet, a 2 year old girl by herself, a three legged dog, a chicken, a small boy on an adult sized bike with 2 other kids chasing after him and a cow. Come to think of it, I would guess that none of these things are actually that unusual here in Sulaco.

Have a good week amigos!

1 Comment

Hi Therese,
Really enjoyed your descriptions and thanks for touching base with Rob. I can relate to the diarrhea issues having spent a summer in guatemala during my college years. It's so hard to even figure out how to eat and stay healthy in such a foreign environment. You have to eat and drink. Is there bottled water around? or very expensive.? A few years ago in Cost Rica, water was more expensive than gasoline per gallon.
Enjoyed your interactions with the people and humor/games.
Now some comments from my husband.......

As one ponders water systems, I can'thelp but reflect upon the roman aqueducatal systems which provided water for everything from drinking to sanitation primarily predicated upon gravity with the sewage system being below street level where animal and potentially human fecal matter existed. The aqueducts were also open air presumably bleached by the sun enroute and existed for many years despite weather systems avian fecal matter and rodent access. The water was rarely stagnant which may also have played a role but just like cephalosporin antibiotics were discovered from the sewage effluent in Italy I can't help but wonder what made their system work and would this same technology work for Honduras?

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This page contains a single entry by geni0010 published on May 22, 2011 4:50 PM.

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