Vacation is definitely over. The days of drinking Pina Coladas on the black sand beaches are far gone. I have been back in site a week now and it is funny how things go back to normal so fast. Yesterday I went to the Consejo Tecnico with all the health workers in my municipality and unfortunately there are now about half the number of health workers. The government does not have the money to pay the workers so a bunch of people lost their job over the holidays. Also, the NGOs that were providing health care lost funding so they left too. My town has been without vaccinations and any health attention since October. A different health post has been reassigned to take over vaccinations so hopefully these kids will not be forgotten.
I did my first charla of the New Year this afternoon. I asked Cathaleen to come help me. We focused on food preparation, washing fruits and veggies and chlorinating water. We did a little skit where Cat was a fly who contaminates food with poop and I was the girl who ate the food and got diarrhea. The women laughed and enjoyed it. The women seem to comprehend everything well but unfortunately when I reviewed the important times to wash hands I could hear crickets. No one remembered! Seriously?!?! I have reviewed the 4 times to wash your hands (after bathroom, after changing diaper, before eating, before cooking) but no one spoke up or anything. It was a very frustrating end to an otherwise great charla. It makes me remember that maybe I am doing no good as far as health education. I am entertaining to the women and they enjoy themselves. Maybe that is all a first generation volunteer can really achieve.
Other news, I am off for 3 days of medical tests in Xela next week. I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and anxiety. They think its stress….duh! I am not sure what the doctors will say but hopefully something good. I have not responded to treatment thus far and Peace Corps has given me a time limit to get things under control. On top of the stress of my unprepared site, these medical issues are really testing me. Updates to come.
Finally, I want to thank all of my friends back home. I do not think I would still be here without the support from you. I love all the letters and packages and emails and everything. Thank you so much and know how much you are appreciated