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Showing posts from October, 2015

How I Bolivia (and how you can help!)

Centro Medico Humberto Parra is a sliding scale clinic in Palacios, a tiny town outside of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Patients commute to the clinic from far and wide because of the scarcity of free healthcare. The clinic hosts many volunteers, in addition to their staff of one doctor and several nurses. These clinicians see patients and treat all sorts of ailments.


Right now the volunteers are three medical students, a nurse practitioner, a nurse, and me. As a biology and public health teacher, I am hardly a traditional volunteer, and I am obviously useless when it comes to treating patients. But I loved the sounds of the clinic, and I hoped to find some way to make myself useful.

Well, I think I've found it. Many of the patients that come to the clinic have Type 2 Diabetes. Their diet tends to consist primarily of starchy foods, and the vegetables they do eat tend to be super bland. No wonder they don't eat more of them! I started doing nutrition consults, and I came to realize tha…

That time Cuba stamped my passport. Part 2.

...continued from That time Cuba stamped my passport. Part 1.



Wednesday.
After another delicious breakfast (why did we ever eat anywhere but our casa??), move to Guanabo, a nearby beach town. Check into our next casa, then explore. Have already heard from multiple sources that Santa Maria, the neighboring beach, is better, so head that way. It's definitely busier, but we don't think it's any better than beautiful Guanabo. So after speaking English with a new Mexican friend who wanted to practice, and then swimming and relaxing for a while, we leave Santa Maria for good.



Thursday.
Late breakfast at home, then make up our first bingo game for the beach. Make our way to the beach slowly but surely, stopping along the way, crossing off such ubiquitous bingo squares as parasols and American flags. Splurge on two beach chairs and an umbrella, and spend most of the day taking turns peeing in the ocean and reading in the shade. Make a couple new artist friends from Havana (apparentl…

That time Cuba stamped my passport. Part 1.

Friday.
Last night in Oaxaca. Enjoy a bittersweet last night out with a few of my favorite new friends. One of them is particularly impressed at how laid back and easy going I am about traveling to Cuba. Me, laid back and easy going? You know this doesn't end well.


Saturday.
Arrive in Mexico City. Visit a friend from Spanish school at his girlfriend's French bakery (yum). After some wandering, spend the rest of the evening eating and drinking and reading at a great restaurant on a great roundabout.

Spend about 30 minutes researching how to get into Cuba, which obviously I should have done earlier. After some last minute jitters and messages to friends, rest easy knowing everything will be fine because they won't stamp my passport.


Sunday.
They stamped my passport.

Commence in-airport freakout. No idea what to do or what might happen, or how to find out what to do or what might happen. Repeatedly replay the interaction with the immigration officer in my head - why didn't…