Monday, February 24, 2014

A story around each corner

Getting sick in Guatemala is quite normal and becomes a daily part of conversation.  Especially when a person first arrives, they are likely to get some kind of stomach bug or pick up a parasite.  I have had experiences with parasites in both Peru and Guatemala.  Is international parasite experience a resume worthy entry?  

In order to get tested for a parasite, you have to take a stool sample to a lab to be tested.  This is a normal part of life now - but don't get me wrong, it still is strange at times to me!  I will never forget a conversation in the teacher's lounge at work amongst a group of English teachers nearly a year ago now.  One new teacher was complaining about stomach issues and describing the problems to the other teachers.  Without hesitation, the senior teachers said "go poop in a cup."  The new teacher was disgusted and was amazed at how everyone had become so open about this topic that is not a common public conversation in most of the rest of the world!  Such is life in Guatemala...seriously, its just a normal part of life here and everyone has their own story...

A few months ago I was having some stomach issues and knew the drill, so I was walking my sample to the lab one beautiful morning.  I remember feeling like everyone around me knew what I was carrying even though it was in multiple plastic bags inside a brown paper bag so no one could see a thing.  I was super paranoid as I made the 4 block walk to the lab.

As I was rounding the last corner to the lab and grateful I had not yet run into anyone I knew (even though this is a common task, it's still not something you want to do with others if you know what I mean).  Suddenly, this nice, attractive Guatemalan man stops me and starts speaking to me in English.  I was wearing my work polo, and he happened to be a student at our school.  He asked me numerous questions and we had a lovely chat - all whilst holding a bag of poo!  Of course he had no idea, but I couldn't help but laugh a bit inside.  Just another Antigua day!

Life abroad is really never dull...

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