Monday, July 27, 2009

10 days left

10 days left and things have gotten a bit more heated over here. Me and my friends were supposed to head to the Mayan Ruins of Copan and Tela Beach this past weekend. We got together all nice and bright and early to catch our bus, and 20 mins before the bus was to leave, the news told us that trouble was brewing at the Nicaraguan border. It was at this time that the busline decided to stop all travelling. Damn. So this is what I know.

Ex President Mel Zelaya is now in Nicaragua, trying to get back into the country. He has tried unsuccessfully a few times but keeps meeting up with resistance. The International community (The UN, USA, Venezuela and others) have made it clear that they support Mel´s presidency as the only true presidency and they will not accept any other President. Until Mel gets put back into power, the economic sanctions and embargoes continue. The borders have been closed to all export trade and its not going to get better anytime soon. Micheletti´s goverment have said that they will never give in to Mel being president again but have proposed that a new election for a new president be held in October so the new government can wipe the slate clean and continue on. The International Community have said they will not support a new government either because if they accept a newly elected government (even if its all legitamately voted for Democratically) because to do so would be supporting the Coup. It would mean that any Central American country could overthrow their own government in the same way and hold a new election to start anew. This would forever cause violence and political strife.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More stories

Two of the hardest things for me to accept here are the sanitation standards and the lack of confidentiality. While they do try to pay attention to sanitation here, sometimes things really make me cringe. For example, the examination beds are covered in cloth sheets and not the paper that we are used to. Not only do they not get changed after every patient, they are not changed daily. I remember the same sheet being on the bed here in the doctors room not being changed for about 10 days. I said something to him about it and it got changed the next day and washed. That was the week that the lady cut her finger, an old man had to have his catheter changed and various kids with infectious coughs were seen on that bed. EWW ICK!! Not to mention to amount of newborns brought in that get laid on that bed. There is a cleaner here who actually does work hard, and the floors are washed twice daily and the instruments are cleaned or thrown out. Needles are properly disposed of and they do have a sterilization machine. So that makes me feel better.

Lack of common sense story- this would happen in Canada too, but still made me laugh. This girl comes in with stomach pain and feeling nauseous and all that. She is clearly pregnant (about 4 months). The doctor opens a new file for pregnancy with her and as he starts asking her all the usual pregnancy questions, she gets really upset and says that she isn't pregnant and how dare he say that as she is not married and is a virgin! Um....yeah. So he made her take a pregnancy test to confirm the obvious and she freaked out! She said that they were lying and making all of it up to shame her and her family! I was there when this was happening and although I didn't understand all of what she was saying, I did catch the gist of it and the rest was explained to me. She insisted she wasn't pregnant and wanted the doctor to give her penicillin and drugs for her "infection" that was making her sick. When he refused, she freaked out again, crying and screaming. Some men finally had to remove her from the clinic. Well about a month ago, Max the doctor told me that she is seeking legal advice because she wants to sue the clinic for defamation of character. Oh Lord how we laughed. Common sense... if you don't want to get preggers and ruin your reputation and chance at marriage, DON'T HAVE SEX!!

This one is the best though, and my favorite!! A girl came in to get her Depo Provera birth control shot which is good for 3 months. The shot costs about a dollar and the patient has the choice of taking the syringe home and doing it herself or have the nurse do it for her here at the clinic, but you should wait till the first day of your period before taking it. She gets her syringe and leaves and comes back two days later for another shot. She gave the last one to her DOG!!! so she wouldn't get pregnant and so she didn't have to keep her inside. There are no words!!!
More to come.

Common Sense

Hey everyone! I´m tired of writing about the political crap here and I realized that I haven´t yet told you about some of the cool, creapy and gross things I have seen and experienced here at the clinic. One of the things we were told before we left was to expect the unexpected and accept that things are the way they are and there isnt much to be done about them. I know that I am not here to change the world or to change peoples way of being/thinking, but I did manage to give out some common sense. I can just hear my friend Noel back home saying, "who the hell died and gave you common sense?" It´s hard for me at times to accept how things are done here because my North American brain wants to scream at these people, "Are you freaking kidding me?!?!". But I know that everyone is always doing the best they can with what they have and I definitely learned a lot about patience and acceptance. Might make life a bit less stressful for me back home. I have started to learn to just let things be; I cant control everything and that´s always been hard for me. Here are some examples

I believe I have mentioned before that vaccinations here are mandatory and also free. But still parents arent getting their kids vaccinated. Its only down to ignorance and laziness. I know that back home some people think that vaccines hurt kids or may cause autism or whatever, but here they dont think that deep. Mostly its just that the parents dont want to bring their kids to the clinic, wait for an hour or two and have to deal with their kids screaming up a storm and then being slightly sick for a day or two. Well I dont have kids and you all know how much I love screaming sick children, but isnt it better than having to deal with your kids having polio or typhoid?? Polio is an issue here. I thought it was all but erradicated in the world, but I guess not.

The food here is hard for me to deal with as I am not used to eating so much fat and oil and salt. But people here are brought up on it and wont give it up for anything, their health included. We saw a lady who had a blood pressure enduced stroke at 41 years of age because her cholesterol was over 300. The doctor tells me that 300 is high enough to kill most people. When the doctor told her she needs to cut out the fat and salt she looked at him like he had slapped her. So she risks heart attack and further damage because she cant possibly cook eggs without oil and salt.

This isnt about common sense, this was just cool and gross... a lady came in a couple months ago with half of the top half of her left index finger missing. She was butchering her cow and her hand slipped and she took off part of her finger...ew!! She of course had to go to the hospital in the capital city to get it surgerically fixed, but she came here first and asked if we couldnt just stitch it and bandage it cuz she had to finish her husbands dinner!!!! You could see the bone and everything!!!!! EW ICK!! Loved it!

Ever see the movie Brokedown Palace? It´s about the girls who get thrown into a Thai prison for smuggling drugs? One scene involves one of the characters having a beetle fly into her ear and infecting her, making her sick. That happened here! Poor little girl about 4 years old came in with a bad fever and a terrible ear and headache. Turns out she had a dead beetle in her ear. It must have crawled in while she slept and got stuck. Once it got stuck it couldnt retreat backwards so it burrowed further into ear and scratched into her ear drum before it died. She had to go to the hospital to have it removed safely... and will have received a good dose of penicilin. I sleep with ear plugs...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Im free

Hey all. The travel ban and curfew have been lifted!! YAY!. I have to be honest I have not been keeping up with the latest gossip here, its been so boring. As far as I know, Zelaya went to the US and Hilary Clinton asked the president of Costa Rica to mediate the negotiations of the Honduran political system. His name is Arias and he won the Nobel Peace Prize once upon a time and so he makes a good mediator. He also doesnt have anything to gain or lose politcally so that helps. Im not sure what the outcome was or is, but as far as I have heard, Zelaya is going to come back to Honduras on the 18th but he could try and come back anytime really. What that will mean for the country I dont know. I think there are still warrents out for his arrest, but I also think that since the country is in negotiation, he might have temporary immunity until things get settled. The general consensus of opinion is that Zelaya wont come back into power, that he will get some sort of settlement and Micheletti will be president until the election in November.

I am really really hoping that things dont change until after I get home. I really cant handle another grounding. I get a week of vacation starting Thursday and I will be travelling the country as much as I can. My friend Max has a car and he has offered to play tourist with me. I think we are going to Tela Beach (since I missed it the last time due to the grounding), San Pedro Sula, Copan (which are the Mayan Ruins) and probably Ceiba which is another beach on the Caribbean coast. Loads to see and do and not much time to do it anymore. I only have about 24 days left!! Wow, its flown.

I sent out postcards last week. I wrote them on the 18th of June but wasnt allowed to leave to mail them so sorry for that. Hopefully they will get home before I do.

Now that the political stuff is sorted, I will try and get back to what I have learned here and what I have seen and done before all this started. Thats the interesting stuff.

Anywho, still enjoying myself and I cant tell you how excited I am to be free again.

Hugs n stuff.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2 dead, 4 Wounded

So things got a tad more interesting here this past weekend. I don't really know all the details because as I have previously said, there is a media ban here and although it has lightened up quite a bit here, the government still want everyone to think that everything is fine and that all are well and safe. They even put Micheal Jackson´s memorial on CNN Español and didn't talk about anything newsworthy. Makes me laugh and shake my head.
Anywho, the story was that Mel Zelaya was supposed to come back to Honduras on Saturday as per the demands of the UN. The Honduran government said if he came back, they would arrest him (apparently they have 18+ warrants out for him). So the threatened embargoes and sanctions did in fact begin, although I don't really believe that the effects of these will be felt for a month or two. He didn't try to come back on Saturday after all but he did try to sneak in on Sunday. Silly man thought he could avoid being arrested if he came in unexpectedly I guess. Once he landed, the government refused him entry being that he didn't have permission so he took off to El Salvador. Monday he flew to Washington DC where he met with Hilary Clinton. I do not know anything more than that. I don't know if or what anything was talked about, nor about whats happening with Michelettis government. I do know that some of the bigger industrialists of Honduras have told Micheletti and Zelaya that they want the two to play nice, give back the presidency to Zelaya and they can work together until the next election is called in November, at which time the slate will be wiped clean and the new government can start again. Who the hell really thinks that two alpha males can play nicely together? Come on!! One wanted the power to control the country at will, and the other instigated a coup détat. Honestly!! Stupid freaking men!! The industrialists are not at all happy that their business have been diminished because the borders have been closed to some trading due to the embargoes and sanctions.
I also know that 2 people died and 4 people were wounded at the airport Sunday when some jackass decided he was going to open fire on the crowd gathered there to support their favorite president. We have been told that it was an isolated incidence, that he was just some guy and it had nothing to do with attempted assassinations or anything dramatic.
The country´s curfew has been set back to 10pm to 6 am but we still have not been given the go ahead to travel. So here I sit in El Guante and counting down the days till I am back in the land of the Canuck.
Hugs n stuff