i haven't written in my blog for a long time....ooops. i think the last update was march, so i'll go from there.
in april, darwin found a kitten that had been thrown out. it's common practice here to just throw female kittens out or drown them. nobody wants the females because then they will have more kittens. so they kill them or intentionally let them die. but the general first reaction to neutering or spaying a pet here is laughing at how absurd it is and/or commenting on how you're making the poor cat suffer because you won't let it have a family. aaaanyway, so the kitten was scraggly and TINY, like a skeleton with a big ole' head. i felt so bad for the little gal but after the kauri heartbreak said no, no, no, no, NO CATS. i couldn't bare to spoil another cat just to abandon it once it got older. but darwin said that, since his cat ran away and he really likes cats, he would take it if/when i left. i was already feeding the cat before he could even finish his sentence. i gave the cat milk; it wouldn't drink it. i gave the cat bread; it just kind of licked it sadly. i tried soup, rice, scrambled eggs...nada. it didn't eat for more than a day...the poor thing was soooo skinny so i got a can of tuna hoping i could convince it to eat even just a little of the oil. the cat started growling and hissing like a madcat and ran away with a piece of the meat. from then on the cat lived on tuna, fish, goat, chicken, beef, and pork...it would only eat meat even though it was clearly starving to death. for two months, the cat ate more meat than i did. i cleaned the mites out of her ears, bathed her and dewormed her (btw, super gross when your kitten has big tapeworms and expels them during dinner with your friends). the skin and fur on her face came off in clumps with the skin. a friend put a red collar on her so no one would give her the evil eye. i taught it to stay on my shoulder while i paraded it all around town. on a daily basis, rommel's mom told me the cat was the ugliest thing she'd ever seen, calling her satanas and lucifer and telling me i should go toss her in the river to see if she can swim. little by little the cat got better and i thought, well maybe she won't die. and then the first sunday in may she disappeared. i figured she had died and felt really awful about the collar because, had she lived, it was sewn shut and wouldn't allow her to grow or could get caught on something and choke her.
may- mystery illness
the first week in may i got really sick, though i didn't end up doing much about it. it all started saturday the 8th. i guess the first thing i noticed was that i didn't really feel like eating all day, but i felt fine. looking back on it, it was probably stupid to go out at night if i hadn't eaten all day. but i felt fine, so i went out. while i was out with friends i noticed that i was not feeling too well and so i went home early. the next day i had what felt like a horrible hangover, but that didn't make much sense considering that i hadn't drank much. all sunday (day 2) i was pretty miserable and just not wanting to do anything but sleep. days 3 and 4 i felt kinda icky, but it came in waves. i'd get really tired, i was freezing (which is weird because it's so hot here), i'd get dizzy and nauseaus, had a bit of diarrhea but nothing serious, and i had kinda like what they called growing pains when i was little, you know like dull aches in the bones and joints. but the thing that bothered me the most was the nausea...i had gone five days at that point eating very little...thinking about food made me sick to my stomach. i'd go to work, do what i most needed to do, sleep for a few hours, work a bit more, and then sleep again. tuesday night i told the teacher i am helping that i couldn't go in the next day. i planned to just stay at home and sleep but i woke up wednesday with such bad nausea and dizziness that i called the pc doctor, who told me to take my temperature. a work partner took me to get checked out, mostly to have my temperature taken. i had a fever and low blood pressure (90/50). while i was talking to the doctor i lost my vision for a little bit...everything went black but i was still conscious. the doc said i was just about to faint and it was just because of the low blood pressure. he gave me some candy and scolded me for not having eaten. they gave me some kind of injection for the fever that hurt like hell and something for nausea and to be quite honest at that point i was really too weak to even say anything. i thought it was weird they didn't take a blood sample but the doctors here are pretty careless. it was kinda like pick your illness...according to doctors i had a bad flu, according to my work partners it was malaria, and according to random people on the street it was dengue. who would you believe? i didn't have energy left to do anything but sleep. i should have called pc, but seriously i couldn't even speak well at moments. day 6 i was going to call pc again but i was back to feeling how i did on monday and tuesday- kinda flu-like. by then my host mom was making me eat and i bought some ensure so i was stronger than the days before. by day 7 i felt okay...just drowsy. but i noticed that my skin was itchy/burning with a rash and red all over...my hands and feet too. since it's humid here during this time of year and i had a towel that hadn't been drying well lately, i figured it was some kind of fungus. so i went to the pharmacy to buy some anti fungus cream just in case and the girl at the counter looked at my skin and said "oh my kid had that, the doctor said it's dengue." i was like no that's ridiculous i've never heard that dengue does anything to your skin just give me the cream and she went and asked the doctor and he, without seeing me, said dengue too. i brushed them both off as i would any other quack in this town and went home. the rash and itch went away in a couple of days (fungus takes longer to cure) and sure enough there's been a dengue outbreak in town. checked the symptoms on the internet, and they all align with dengue. draw your own conclusions on the mystery illness, i'm just glad it's over. i was weak (kinda like with anemia) for nearly a month, still haven't recovered completely, and lost 10 pounds. actually i guess that part wasn't so bad. yay dengue! hah.
return of the demon-cat
mid may i woke up at 5 am one morning with a craving for bread from my favorite bakery here, which i hadn't been to in months because it moved completely out of the way. i couldn't sleep so i went down super early, at like 6 or something. while i was down there, there was a guy picking up some stuff to take to his store before he opened. he lives near the office but i'd never met him before. he looked at me and said, "hey sarah i've got your cat." and (thinking he was making fun of me) i replied with a request that he be so kind as to not screw with me because in reality i was pretty heartbroken about the cat's disappearance. he said no, seriously, it came with this collar but i took it off...you can come to my house and see. and i was like seriously don't mess with me. he insisted that he had my cat, mentioning that the thing was weird and only ate meat. so i went to see the cat. it was a little bigger and i didn't believe it at first but then i went over to it and picked it up and right away it hopped on my shoulder. the guy said i could take her, i figure he half felt bad for me and half didn't want to have to keep up with her expensive tastes. i took her out to lunch to celebrate and she went absolutely nuts when i gave her the meat. didn't touch the rice. MY CAT WAS BACK!!! she's gorgeous now, a real feisty kitty. she's chubby, just enough to be healthy, and she has the softest black coat. she's sprouted some white hairs on her back and tummy. she wears a hot pink ribbon now. i named her Lucy, short for Lucifer since she still is kinda a little devil. she eats more things now, mostly puppy food and any dairy products. people really like her now, they tell me when she gets out and they think she's so pretty. my host mom still hates her and doesn't want her around, but i sneak her in on friday nights to watch movies with me. she wakes me up at 6am, doing laps around my bed. she's insane and i love it.
work is a bit sad lately. i really miss my old boss at NCI, who is in Spain for a few months. i like giving classes, but it's a rougher and slower start than i expected. the teachers are jealous that i am teaching classes and the other teacher is getting paid for doing nothing, even though the idea isn't that she does nothing, it's that she learns the new curriculum to be able to teach it in the future. i am having difficulties with her, too...it's a challenge that she's not acclimated to a formal work environment. and then there's the kids...there's just very little discipline and they get away with so much and the academic level they're used to is so low...not to mention that i only have 40 minutes a week with each class (exceptions: 80 mins/wk with the seniors and 20 mins/wk with one of my 10th grade classes) and on top of that, a good 1/3 of my classes have been cancelled due to vacations, holidays, conferences and god knows what else. i would estimate that these kids are getting less than half of the classroom hours annually than kids in the states. they have about 4.5 hours a day, and i don't even want to count the number of hours that have been cancelled this trimester alone. and the kids say there's even more days cut out the last 2 trimesters. ugh. in may, for example, i was sick one week, the next pc sent me to cuenca, had one normal week of classes, and then pc sent me to quito...in june we had a bunch of days off for various things and in july i'll be home in the states all month...overall i feel like i need more time to get somewhere with this program, but i do feel there's potential there and that it's worth it to stick with it.
one cool thing that we did in my classes was make solar ovens...huge success! more on that to come in a week! phew, that was a long rant. i'm gonna wrap this up then. expect another post soon, particularly abut some of the cool stuff we've been doing in class. love ya all! abrazotes,