Today was another exciting day of hiking. We hiked close to the base home, visiting homes of some of the health promoters and their families. I was in charge of observations again.
One of the homes we visited was that of a former member of the health committee. He has a big family, apparent by portraits of them hung around the walls of the home. He was very kind, asking me the usual like where I’m from and my name. And his Spanish was pretty clear. Also in his home was a television, a gas tank and stove, and satellite dish of a company named Claro.
After the visit, he offered us some fresh bananas. They were without a doubt the most delicious ones I’ve eaten in my life. They were smaller, but had a more authentic sweet taste that those in the US can’t beat. This was perhaps my most favorite home visit during my time here. Unfortunately, I haven’t experienced this anymore today.
One of the next homes we visited was the opposite of a pleasant experience. First, to get there we hiked upwards through a stable littered with feces. Once arriving, dogs suddenly barked at us and tried to sniff us out, but the owner called them back. We went right inside the kitchen for the survey. Smoke dispersed throughout the kitchen, with two doorways being the only route of escape. I had a hard time breathing, as it was both extremely hot and fumigating. The smoke also began irritating my eyes through my glasses. I was anxious and ready to get some fresh air outside, but Jose warned me that the dogs out there were dangerous. Without the owner present, the dogs could attack and kill you! I was terrified once I heard that. It was a catch 22 at that point; Risk getting fresh air by man-eating dogs or struggle through the smoke and heat? I went with the latter, which took no time to decide. So I braved through it all as Jose went through the 20+ minute interview with the homeowner. We finished the survey eventually and moved on to the observations, my part! And more so finally some fresh air!!!
In general, all the yards were well maintained and some had either a pigpen or hen house. I also measured the rate at which water flowed from the filter. Mainly they were between two to three minutes, meaning the filter is in good condition.
After home visits, we returned to the base house, strenuously hiking up the hill. Near the house was the home of a schoolteacher. I went there to visit and socialize.
I heard some music right outside the home, which I couldn’t help but dance to. The teacher saw me and invited me to come inside. I wanted some people to come dance with me, but bystanders nearby were bashful and didn’t want to. I asked why nobody wanted to, and the professor told me that they can’t. I simply said yes they can. It’s not knowing how to dance that matters, but a will to dance. So I continued dancing for a while until dinner.
After dinner, I went back to the home. The schoolteacher had a son there, who seemed to be doing English homework. I helped him out by teaching some words. For example, I taught him the word take, and he had to pronounce it a good few times.
In exchange, he helped me with my Spanish. I had a difficult time with pronouncing the double r sound in Spanish, like in perro or barro. For Spanish speakers, it’s easier because they use part of the tongue to pronounce it. But for me, I used force from my throat, with the sound not coming out right. After a good fifty tries or so, they told me I was doing a little better. I couldn’t tell the difference after a while, though.
I returned to the base home soon to enter survey data on the computer and called it a night when the clock striked 11.