February 5, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle: Round Two

So today we got back from field trip #2 to Santo Domingo de los Tsachillas. Which is in the jungle. Again.

This time, we left on Monday. When we got to our hotel, we were pleasently suprised at how nice it was. There was no air conditioning, so it was really hot and humid, but the rooms were really nice and we had a maid service. After we checked in, we had lunch and then free time for two hours. Kelsey (my roommate for this trip) and I watched Dr. Phil in English, and then went to the afternoon conference that was scheduled. The two hour conference took 30 minutes and the guy told us the most straightforward information on Malaria that it wasn't even worth going to. After that, we had more free time, so we watched the movie Crossroads (with Britney Spears from back in the day) and then went to dinner. Dinner was edible (as was the rest of the food we ate for the week), but not great. And they had cantaloupe juice. GROSS.

The second day, we got up and had breakfast and then left for some plantations. We learned how they grow pineapples and cacao, and the guy let me hybrid a cacao tree! After those, we went to a palm plantation and learned how they farm hearts of palm, but the guy who gave the lecture was really rude. One of the girls sneezed while he was talking and he said to her "If you don't want to listen, then you can just leave." Jeez, excuse you for sneezing....

It was fun and all, but had NOTHING to do with public health. In fact, there was not one mention of "public health" the whole day. After the plantations, we went to go for a "nature walk", which I knew was going to be a strenuous hike in the jungle. So this time I was prepared. We walked for a while, and then the guy turns to the mountain (like straight up, 90 degrees) and says we are going to climb. So we do, using the vines to reverse repel up the side of this mountain. At some point, I grabbed something thorny to avoid falling back down the cliff, and now I have infected slivers that I can't get out. But anyways...we all made it to the top, and then continued to hike. Other highlights of this so-called nature walk were the crossing of the bamboo bridge (two sticks of bamboo suspended 30 feet over a river with a rope to hold on to) and the wading chest deep through another. It sucked, but at least this time I was prepared.

After that half the group was positively jolly and the other half was pissed about what we had just done, so when we got back to the hotel, some people went to their rooms and some of us went swimming. The hotel had a little pool and it was fun enough for a little while. After that, we had dinner and then free time for the rest of the night.

On Wednesday, we went and visited a hospital, which was awful because it was PACKED with actual sick people and here we are invading everyone's privacy and taking up a LOT of space. After that, we were told that the guy who was lecturing us in the afternoon cancelled, so we had free time all afternoon. I watched the Northern Trust Open (golf), and Kelsey read. That night, we had dinner and then just went to bed.

The following morning (Thursday) we went and visited some small clinics and a hostel (which again has nothing to do with public health) and then went to a Malaria lab, which was actually interesting because for the first time in the whole week they gave us some information that was not blatently obvious. And as you may have already guessed, we then had the rest of the day off.

Today, we woke up, ate breakfast, and returned to Quito. So as you can tell it was the stupidest trip ever where I learned more from Dr. Phil on Munchausens by Proxy than I did about public health. It was a waste of time and money. CIMAS is stupid.

Now I am home, and besides unpacking, I have nothing to do today but attend to my mosquito bites. I just wasted a week, but this weekend will be busy because I have an essay to write, and we are going to try and watch the superbowl somewhere on Sunday. But I think that's it for the week long trip...hopefully we don't have any more of them.

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