February 25, 2010

Happy 100 Day!

And the double digit countdown begins...

So this was week seven at CIMAS, and for the most part the first two days were pretty normal. Suprisingly, they did not cancel one single lecture this week, so that was a plus. In Spanish, we watched "The House of Spirits" by Isabel Allende (she wrote the book, we watched the movie, but same thing). It was actually REALLY good, not to mention it had an all-star cast: Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, and  Meryl Streep. I liked it.

On Wednesday, we took a trip to Pedro Moncayo to visit a flower farm. We had been prepped about flower farms and how bad they are for the environment and how they use chemicals that cause cancer in the workers...basically how they are really shitty places. So when we got there, the owner comes to give us a tour, and he is spewing a TON of bullshit about how "they don't use harsh chemicals and they properly treat waste water and they check all the ages of the workers" and such, but when we started the tour, EVERYTHING we saw said the exact opposite. All of the people working in this place looked about 14, and at one point when the tour got up ahead of me I asked one of the girls how old she was....after about a 15 second hesitation, she said, "18." Good answer, but not the truth. After that, we kept walking and we went into the greenhouses. The owner made a point to say that after they are sprayed with pesticides, no one without a complete protective getup is allowed in the houses for at least four hours. As soon as he finishes, a man walkes up to us, picks up a huge jug of drinking water, and proceedes to walk directly into the next greenhouse where the other guy is ACTIVELY spraying pesticides. How embarrassing.

So after that we went to a hospital, and they too were in the BS game, because they told us that they "had no numbers or statistics on the prevalence of cancer in the community" and that "cancer is not really a problem here." Ummm, I beg to differ! Cancer from pesticides in the water supply is a HUGE problem in that province. So overall it was a really interesting trip, but not very informative because no one would tell us the real scoop.

Today we had another trip to Tumbaco, and this time we just visited a farm. Not horribly interesting, and nothing to do with public health, but we did get to go out and pick our own veggies and make a salad for lunch, so the extra veggies I got in my diet today were good. Also, it was a short trip so even though I was bored all the time, I only suffered for four hours. (And I do mean suffered: there were NO bathrooms where we went and we had to hold it all day....actually not all day, they stopped in the morning at the tour guides house and we got to pee in his bucket toilet. You do your business, and then pour sawdust on top of that, and then someone else goes on top of that....)

Tonight, I was invited to Kelsey's house for tacos. When I got there, Kelsey was still at the store, so I was chatting with her family. Her mom came in and said, "You look really *something*." When I said I didn't understand the word, she repeated it and when I still didn't get it, her eight year old son (who is learning English in school) said "Wide! It means wide." So I made a sort of frown at being called fat, and then the mom, who was still trying to explain in Spanish said, "Flaca...el opuesto de gordo." So in reality she was commenting that I looked thinner, which was a nice thing. I then informed Diego that "thin" was the word he was looking for, and that "wide" was the opposite. So we all had a good laugh.

The tacos were delicious, and we ended up just hanging out and talking until almost 11. It was really fun, and a good way to celebrate 100 day. As of tomorrow, we are looking at only two digits in the countdown! Can't wait to celebrate 1 day!!!

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