This isn't the blog post I would like it to be, but it is all I have the energy for.
Every morning I wake up at 6:30 and get to the subcentro by 8. From about 9 to 12 or 1 every day, we do rural community visits- this could be anything from visiting people with disabilities to vaccinating dogs against rabies. It usually involves a lot of walking, sometimes on steep dirt paths. I really like it, especially going way out to the communities that are further away from the subcentro and town. It isn't because I have a big bleeding heart or because I feel like I am actually helping, but because I like walking and way out there every day is something different.
Then I return to the subcentro, get some lunch, and generally have nothing to do. Sometimes I observe in the doctor's offices, sometimes I try to create my own activities. Everything I do at the subcentro is up to me. I choose what I want to do and do it, with almost zero supervision or support- this kind of bothers me- I feel like I need some guidance and that I am an intelligent person who only needs a small amount of direction to get going on a project. I get that people don't have time to make up activities for me, but, for example, on my own initiative (and my own dime- they don't have funds for this type of activity), I created a super awesome bulletin board on healthy eating. And I would be willing to do more, or plan activities for the club de adolocentes, or even clean/organize something. I just don't know what needs to be done and I need to persistently ask before getting answers. I've been learning a lot about how much I don't assert my own needs during this internship. A doctor is not going to talk to me unless I barge in and ask my question. (It isn't really barging, outside of my new host family house, boundaries are less distant here, but it feels like barging, and it is hard to talk to "important" people in bad Spanish.) I'm working on it. Being young and female (and Minnesotan?) in this world has given me a seriously warped sense of non-entitlement to the point that yesterday I purchased cookies and specifically asked for vanilla instead of strawberry, but when I was given the strawberry I left and ate them anyway. What is with me these days?
It is especially hard to talk to important people in bad Spanish when you have lost your voice, and I have. One of the many plusses of the subcentro is working in close contact with many doctors who really like me, so one examined me and gave me free medication. (The Subcentro always gives free medication- but you have to live in the service area to get free care.) The diagnosis was amigdalitis bacterial, which translates to tonsillitis. I have literally never heard of anyone having tonsillitis in real life, and I feel more like I have a cold that just keeps hanging on. I'm very respectful of the doctors professional opinion, but we don't do throat cultures in the subcentro, so there is just no way to know for sure. If I have a bacterial infection of any kind, my free azythromacin should knock it right out, but it does not appear that it is going to. Maybe I have an allergy to Otavalo?
Anyway, with tonsillitis and all the walking and eight-hour days, (I work 30 hours per week, but I like to travel on Fridays) I always want to come home and sleep. I feel bad that I am not adventuring or spending time with my family, but even homework is hard to complete. I try not to be too hard on myself- I am doing a lot. Plus, even though it is not all fun and games, I am working with Community Health Workers (here it is a brand new career called Técnicos en Atención Primaria) on the daily, and that is only my dream come true.