Going native

Like almost everyone else, I thought that I would end up living and working in a small village.  However, I quickly realized in training that I preferred a larger site, and was placed in a small city that had everything one needs.  The one drawback was not seeing the "culture," or how things were vastly different from the States.

I arrived to the point where I was preparing for COS and I was working in a mountain community and touched what I refer to as Honduran poison ivy.  Actually, it is called yateveo and it attacked.  In one day, I went from a littly itch, to blisters running down one arm.  I was so far out of the way that I had no hope of getting medicine for a week (until I completed the work) and was miserable from the itch.  I asked one teenager and she just said it was called, "I see you," and went along itching.


The next day, after constantly hitting my arm with my hip, I asked another person and he said I needed to mash up another plant and put it on my arm.  Problem: I don't know plant names in English, let alone tropical plants in Spanish!  After my look stating "What are you talking about?" he said someone could prepare it for me.


That night, a woman made me the mashed up leaves in water, and I finally had my moment.  This was Honduras before Americanization came along, the backwoods, the real deal.  Something that made my service complete. 


Note: Later I returned to town and got a modern medicine which made the problem go away.  One day the scar will go away, but I had my moment.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.