Sunday, January 18, 2009

El Gripe.

There is another byproduct that comes with working abroad in a developing country…the food and water can make you very sick. Last night I experienced the beginning bouts of my angry intestines, unhappy about food that I ate (ironically and kind of twist of fate, falafel #2). The bottom line is, there are bacteria our bodies are not used to, and as such, our bodies reject them like hell in various ways. Today I came down with a full case of not being able to hold any food in, and a fever/flu that is beating on my bones like a chisel. This necessarily makes everything I come to do layered in the difficulty of sickness; and this my friends, is an absolute reality of working in these conditions.

The Spanish word for flu is “el gripe.” I’ve always thought that word was perfect, as this force seems to grip your body and just wring it out. Today I have been gripped by some seriously horrible physical feelings and spent most of the day adjusting to the altitude in Cajamarca and working through my stomach and body pains.

Yes, we did make it today to Cajamarca. We all boarded the plane and then waited on the plane another hour until they knew there would be a “break” in the clouds in Cajamarca. As we approached, the white misty sky looked about 10x worse than yesterday and I thought there was no way we would approach for landing. The pilot went for it and when I saw the flaps drop into full downward position, I knew he was seriously committing. We wound in circles through layers of clouds as we descended and I kept looking over to the right where white clouds seemed to clutch to the mountain peaks like parasites. To the left and to the right I noticed us weaving
into the green valley through these peaks. It was seriously intense!

I am in the safe haven of Brian, DiscoverHope Board Member, his Cajamarquina wife, Cecy and their 7 month year old sweetheart girl, Amara. Brian was one of the original friends who helped me down to Cajamarca and has been doing international investment projects in Peru since 2004.

Covered in three alpaca blankets, lying in the cold guest room, the rain is beating incessantly here. There is no heat in most places here and this place is like any other. I am just plain old cold, especially since I am spoiled by the TX weather. There are children’s stickers dotting the bedroom door and glowing stars on the ceiling. I will fumble along with El Gripe this evening and hope tomorrow brings a new beginning. I am somewhere, 18 hours from Lima in the mountains, my bones aching, and this is yet another layer of vulnerability that comes with the territory.

To healing, MM

1 comment:

scott said...

Dang - sorry to hear you got the double whammy of flu and food bugs. Glad to hear your spirits are high Maggie despite your intestinal chaos!