Wednesday, August 23, 2006

changed my mind--wrote some stuff

So I have been a little busy…

This past weekend my fellow teachers and housemates (which are one in the same if you haven’t caught that detail of my life) headed out for a relaxing weekend away from the house and all of the stress of planning for school. I was thankful to not have to drag around my lesson plan book and feel weighted down by the thought that I should be doing something productive related to school. It was quite the journey to get there—three buses—not to mention wandering around between buses looking for the next bus ;) We got to Tela in time for lunch on Saturday and then spent the day reading on the beach and playing in the Caribbean. Our hotel was right on the beach and all 5 of us jovenes (younger teachers) shared a room. We went out for a not quite Italian Italian dinner. The original plan was then to go dancing, but taking into consideration the potentially sketchy situations that could be encountered at the Iguana discoteca, we opted to get a bucket of ice cream, put our pajamas on, pile onto two double beds and watch Ghost (in English!) on our cable tv. The next morning we left for Triunfo de la Cruz, a Garifuna village about a half an hour (another bus) from Tela. The beach there was even more beautiful and tranquil. It was wonderful to be so isolated from the bustle of daily life. We were the only gringos (foreigners/white people) in town. We stayed in cabanas (whatever that means) for $3 a night if you can believe it. Since we had been working so hard we were ready to go to bed at 8:30pm! We ended up sharing for hours about our childhood, families, and their reactions to our doing this BECA position thing. When it was finally time to go to sleep we realized that our cabana smelled like a giant outhouse. This was kind of hindering to the whole sleeping thing. I’ll fill you in on the gross reason (whether you want to know or not). The room with our beds was only separated from the toilet by a shower curtain (not really a good idea if you ask me). Then, in Honduras, you don’t flush toilet paper, but throw it away in the trash can where it sits in the heat all day…and let’s just say…if there is someone amongst you having diarrhea action…well, your room with smell like an outhouse. Yuck and a half. Can I say that I haven’t had diarrhea yet which seems like a weird thing to post on the internet, but I actually look at it as a reason to throw a party! Knock on wood.

Fast forward to this morning. I got up at 5am. Ugh. I don’t remember the last time I have done that. Maybe never willingly. In retrospect I wish I would have slept a little longer (like…5:20). In retrospect I would have also worn my scrubs to bed (which I have been doing lately for maximum bug protection), but I made the last minute decision not to wear them and am suffering the consequences. I wish I could take a picture to prove the damage. You’ll never believe that I’m not exaggerating. That is one thing that wears on me. I’ve tried the prevention method. I’ve tried monitoring exposed skin at all times. For some reason it still looks like I have a bad case of adult chicken pox. It is hard sleeping in scrubs though because of the heat—one of the other uncontrollable variables in my life. It’s wearing to sweat almost all the time. When I try to look through resource books and plan for school the books stick to my legs. After my (cold) shower (the only time I’m not sweating) I put on the preventative bug spray which then mixes with sweat and sometimes sunscreen and sand depending on where I am J I’m surprised I didn’t come home from the beach with dreads. My hair was moving as one single unit.

Can someone tell me if wearing 100% deet is not safe for my body? Can someone please offer to send me more bug spray?

So, I got up at 5. We left for school at 6 hoping to get there by 6:30 to get a few things done before school started at 7:15. Bum crack of dawn folks. Frustration point=kids started showing up at 6:40am…who DOES that! It would take a while and even more energy to justly describe my first day at school today so I’ll just say a few things.

  1. It went really well. It went better than I expected. My kids are generally well behaved. Only two kids went from the green light to the yellow light on the discipline stoplight ;)

  1. A random kid named Elvis appeared in my classroom. He wasn’t on my class list and refused to speak to me in either English and Spanish which was super helpful (not!) So I had no idea where he was supposed to go. I finally got his name out of him which I thought was Alvin which is also what his nametag has said all day. He was one of my three criers…He also brings my class to 28 kids—minor point…28 kids that barely speak English.

  1. I am completely exhausted. I spoke in English with them all day which means teaching mixed with acting, repetition, intentional tone and body language, and a superhuman amount of patience that I need to somehow sustain for the rest of the days of the school year. It was incredibly difficult to walk uphill both to and from school (I’m serious). My housemate Anna and I stayed after school just to clean up, realign the tables, and hang up a few things, walked home—stopping for just a few minutes to get a cold licuado (think smoothie made with fruit and milk) and didn’t get home until almost 5pm (school ends at 2:15 thankfully) where we collapsed into the hammocks on our back porch only then to realize that the store where we make photocopies closes at 5pm…so yeah.

I’m thankful that today went so well and hope that it continues. Right now, so completely numb with exhaustion, it is hard to imagine doing this everyday for awhile…but I’m confident it will get easier.

I have been trying to write this last sentence over and over without success—I want to tell you I have gotten glimpses already of my purpose here and I am excited to share some of those glimpses with you soon.

Take care,



Blogger hooshotjr said...

From the highly trustworthy Wikipedia:
"DEET is often sold and used in concentrations up to 100%. Although this offers the strongest short-term protection against insect bites, it is often not as effective in the long term as formulas containing less DEET (30%-60%). The reason for this is that pure DEET will not long adhere to human skin, and will evaporate, rub, or wash off in time. Formulas with lower concentrations often contain lotions or other agents which allow the formula to adhere to skin longer and provide longer-lasting protection. Any lessening of the strength of the protection as a result of the lower concentration may be countered by applying a greater quantity of the substance. Likewise, pure DEET may be reapplied as necessary to sustain the desired level of repellence.

DEET is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents. Studies into the health effects of using DEET in the approved way (as a topical application) have not shown any significant harm to human health; exposure to large amounts (by means such as accidental ingestion) has similar effects to comparable exposure to other pesticides. As DEET is a powerful pesticide, however, manufacturers of DEET based products advise they not be used under clothing, on damaged skin, and that the DEET based preparation be washed off after it is no longer needed or between applications."

So either plan on applying it ALL THE TIME or get a lower concentration for maximum effectiveness. Glad to hear things are going well. Photos??

10:48 AM  

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