Slick work

Peace Corps volunteers are by nature creative, independent folks who frequently expend energy to delay or avoid altogether aspects of living in the host country that they find distasteful.

One such aspect was the required gamma globulin shots that we as Peace Corps physicians were mandated to give to each of them at regular intervals to lessen the risk of acquiring viral hepatitis.

Many would dutifully arrive at the medical office in Caracas. Others had to be hunted in their rural locales where they knew the territory much better than we did.The elaborate dance often involved some detective work, asking friends and barrio neighbors, visiting favorite restaurants and bars.

One of the most elusive volunteers beat me even after I had tracked him down.

Since these shots were quite uncomfortable (I knew first hand since we had to get them as well) he made a convincing case for a technique to lessen the pain. This involved running around the block several times while pummeling his buttocks with his hands to increase blood flow to the intended bilateral injection sites.

Seemed reasonable enough except that once out of sight on his first lap, he kept going, never to return. Slick work.


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