Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The fruit of my labor: congestionamiento

I get these ideas about updating my blog and I go online and save them as titles... and then I forget about them for about a week and have to go back and remember what I was thinking about. Work is going well, although sometimes I doubt myself and feel proud all at the same time, which is confusing for my brain. Like when I spend twenty to thirty minutes scanning the La Leche League International (LLLI) website (www.lalecheleague.org) in both Spanish and English trying to find the word for engorgement. Shockingly, this somewhat common breastfeeding ailment that can be cured by, among other things, cold cabbage leaves applied to the entire breast area, is not in my Spanish-English dictionary. And, contrasting from my lovely translations, the formatting in the English and Spanish verious of the LLLI Frequently Asked Questions is totally different, and not all of them are translated. Where's a partera when you need one? (I suppose that I could settle for a Spanish-speaking lactation consultant...) Anyway, I finally found it. And I felt such an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and ridiculousness all at the same time.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Happier Note: Running from the Egg Woman

Well, after my depressing post of last week, I've realized that I have an amusing story to share. This story is the direct result of my forgetfullness. But I should start at the beginning. I got to work one day last week, and was discussing my vegetarianism (now pesci-vegetarianism, as I eat fish...) with Fredda. Fredda is also vegetarian and prefers free-range eggs. While this immediately calls to mind little eggs running around like crazy before they are trapped in little plastic cartons, I know what she means. I like to think of happy contented chickens running around before I steal away and eat their young... It sounds a little off, but what can you do. At any rate, Fredda mentioned that a woman in the OB/GYN clinic, henceforth "the egg woman", sold eggs from her free-range chickens for $1/dozen. This sounded pretty good to me, and the following day I was introduced to the egg woman. I asked for 1 dozen eggs, and agreed to pick them up from her office on Monday.

Now, that was Thursday. After an entire weekend, I had completely forgotten about the eggs. I would remember them in the evenings, or even during afternoons when I wasn't working. When I finally remembered on Thursday (after Alicia e-mailed to remind me) I got out my wallet to prepare to go apologize to the egg woman and to get my eggs. I realize as I'm opening it that I've paid Ash for stamps, and only have change. Counting it, I have $0.98. This is not the same as $1, especially since I have 8 pennies. I ask Angela for a dime, and she's also cleaned out her bag recently. I decide that the "found" dime on the desk can be at least temporarily mine and seek out the egg woman. When I find her, sweaty change in hand, she says "Oh sweetie, I know, I sold the eggs to someone else. Do you work next week? I'll bring the eggs in and say 'here sweetie, here are your eggs,' and you can put them right into the fridge I know that Debbi has there." Somewhat embarrassed, yet also relieved, I returned to the Resource Center and returned the dime to the desk.

Today, I arrived at work, only to realize that I have forgotten my wallet at home. I sat in the little back room of the Resource Center praying that egg woman had forgotten about bringing me my eggs, or that if she didn't see me out in the front, she'd assume I was out. Instead, she left my eggs with Fredda, who promptly brought them into the back room and said, "Oh Andrea, here are your eggs!" with such excitement in her voice that I didn't know how to bring up that I had no idea where I would find $1 to pay for the eggs. So I acted very busy (which I was, in my defense), and later when Debbi came in I ask whether she thought that the egg woman would mind if I brought her the $1 tomorrow when I had my wallet. She lent me a dollar, and now I have my happy eggs. I still owe Debbi $1, but I know it can't get any worse. And the eggs are brown.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I don't know if you remember

I got an e-mail a couple of days ago containing "las noticias de SPS," the news from San Pedro Sula. I spent the summer there, working with a couple of different programs focused on HIV positive patients. It was a wild ride, emotionally, and while I feel like I worked through a lot of things while I was there, though, clearly, I'll be working with it for quite a while. That's not the point of this post, however... The news that I got was really just a quick sentence to let me know that two of the patients I had worked with had recently died, and that the daughter of a third had hemorrhagic dengue. She introduced the news with "I don't know if you'll remember [patients' names]". My initial reaction was exactly the one I had prepared for myself: "Oh, that's too bad... I guess this is what happens when you work with AIDS patients in a third world country."

I guess I still haven't really grasped what it all means. (I didn't really think that I had figured it all out while I was there...) I don't really have any words to make it all make sense. I love reading others' posts where they seem to have it all figured out, or at least have some semblance of clarity. I guess that my final insight, the one that seems to fit for me, is that it doesn't all make sense: that people die in Honduras while we live here in the US, and that the system here and there reinforces the acceptability of this dichotomy. So while I'll be back to work on Monday, busily publishing my women's health newsletter in Spanish as I try to save the world, my friend's baby will die. C'est la vie?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Beginning

Well, I've done it... I've created a blog. I can't really believe that I'm doing this, especially since I'm at work. (Although, technically since I didn't take a lunch again today I'm done.) We'll see how this goes...