The ride to Banco de Siquia was around 8 hours. Like before, we woke up around 5 am to pack last minute essentials and boarded the large truck at 5:30.
Our group had plenty of space to stretch and nap. So we did for a while, until it began to rain at some point. The drops were hitting my head through the window. Recall from earlier that the large white truck has windows on the side and an opening in the front and back of the truck? The purpose of this was to prevent gas and exhaust from spreading inside the truck. We begged Donald, the driver, to pull over and pull down the tarp. But doing so caused the gas to disperse inside, and we immediately felt it. So we then decided to let the tarp open, since rain wouldn’t kill us.
Like the ride to El Bambu, we made gas stops and a lunch stop in El Ayote. By the time we arrived at El Ayote, the rain stopped, but it was hot and sunny.
The ride was at least smoother this time around (otherwise we would ride the ambulancia). We crossed at least a few shallow rivers and hills too.
By around 4, we arrived at Banco de Siquia on a steep hill. Suddenly, the truck got stuck in the mud! We tried multiple methods to get it out. First, one of the locals in the community hopped in and kept jumping. We joined in, with hopes of pushing the front part of the truck out first. That didn’t work, so we tried a plan B.
We all hopped out the truck. A bunch of men gathered at the back of the truck pushing it up. But after many attempts, the truck didn’t budge much. Then there was plan C.
The third method involved the truck’s tires. So some men grabbed chains from underneath the truck and hooked them to it. Donald then pushed the gas pedal in hopes of pushing out. And it worked!! Finally, Donald was able to drive it further uphill.
On the top of the hill was the clinic and base house where we would stay for the week. Around it was a latrine with a toilet inside, a sink, and pila. Inside the clinic was neat as well: It had tile floors, green painted walls, and a room with outlets. Posted on the walls was a poster about receiving vaccinations, information for pregnant women, as well as maps of the community.
Downhill from the clinic are houses left and right, a church, and a kitchen and dining hall.
We began unpacking our nets, cots, and essentials in the clinic, with everyone sharing one room. It was pretty spacious, so that wasn’t much of an issue.
After unpacking, we went out to the porch of the clinic to meet the health promoters. There were five of them all eager to see us. Lester did the introductions, telling them our role in aiding the health promoters and how proficient everyone’s Spanish was. We then said our names and what state we came from. The promoters then proceeded to meet with each other to discuss logistics and community status.
Later that evening, we went downhill to the dining hall for dinner. On the menu was rice and beans and avocado. Everything tasted salty, except the avocado.