Monday, November 24, 2008


Funny things happen here a lot. Some of those things are really only funny in the context of life in Ecuador. For example...

For most of my life whenever I say that my last name is Raby, I occasionally hear some kind of joke along the lines of ¨oooh, do you have rabies?!¨ ha, funny. Not. Anyway. One of the teachers at Santiago, Junior, asked me my last name last week, and i said Raby, with a Spanish accent (rolling the R, short ´a´ as in apple). And he said, ¨ah, como conejo!¨, which means ¨oh, like rabbit!¨ To him, Raby sounds just like rabbit. So intead of ¨ooh, do you have rabies?¨ now the joke is ¨ah, como conejo!¨ No, not like a rabbit. He was the second Ecuadorian to have that response. The first was a woman at the medical dispensario, when i dropped off a poop sample to test for parasites. Which leads to the next funny thing...

Most of us volunteers are almost always afflicted with parasites of some kind. Most of them aren´t too serious, and if they aren´t causing side affects, why bother treating them? We´ll inevitably get reinfected, and being on antibiotics every other week ain´t too good either. We´re used to mild diarrhea by now. We can drop off fecal samples at the dispensario for $1 and later that afternoon can pick up the results, which are usually some combination of worms, Ghiardia, amoebas, fungus, and e. coli. Yes, e. coli. It really isn´t a big deal, definitely not what American parents make it out to be. It´s one of those things that we´ll live with for a while and wipe out with some hefty antibiotics later on when we have more serious illnesses to worry about. Here´s the funny part. Every morning, Karen and I work on the daily crossword puzzle, left by former volunteers. One of the clues recently was ¨Serious bacteria.¨ Answer? E. coli. Haha. We´ve had that! *

Last funny thing. Our kitchen sink is broken. Yesterday morning Abrahan, our head security guard slash handy dandy superhero, and our guard Wellington, spent an hour or so taking apart the pipes under the sink and unclogging the septic tank outside. (Note: to take apart the pipes, they used the gas stove to light a newspaper on fire, which they used to melt the tar / glue off the pipes to take them apart....all while still watching the oh-so-important soccer game on tv....and then put the burning newspaper in the sink, which we couldn´t turn on to douse the flames because duh, there are no more pipes connected to it and the water will just go all over the floor...) Our sink is still out of commission while the new layers of tar dry, so we´re stuck doing dishes in the shower now. Spent about half an hour last night in a bathing suit in the shower washing pasta sauce off lots of plates. Alas, it is still a huge blessing to have running water here at all.

¡Viva Ecuador!

* Don´t worry, we´re actually taking significant measures to take good care of our health. We boil bottled water, clean our food well, soak it in bacteria-killing stuff, etc. Parasites are pretty much just part of the daily grind.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

elyseee i miss you and love reading your updates!! just had to let you know that i'm about 99% positive that i have parasites too seeing how i have every symptom, luckily i'm going home soon enough that i can just get tested there and hopefully get some meds because yes it might be part of the daily grind but it suckssss...keep up all the great work! love you!!