7 Quick Takes as I pack for Guatemala

1. So I’m leaving tomorrow and still haven’t packed anything.  I am a packing procrastinator, and this time I’m glad I waited because LAST NIGHT I found out that we will be staying at the banana plantation where the clinic is (think 90 degrees F and 95% humidity with no breeze) instead of at the coffee farm (50 degrees with misty rain at night).  I need a totally different set of accoutrements.

Where I thought we’d be staying:

2. Like a mosquito net soaked in DEET.  I don’t want malaria. Or dengue.

3. When we lived in Cairo, the mosquitoes loved me.  Once I slept outside my net and half my face was so covered in mosquito bites that I looked like I’d had an accident.  I hate mosquitoes.

4. It’s 32 degrees and threatening snow in Denver right now.  It’s a good thing I believe that germs are what make us sick and not going through a shocking temperature change or going out with my hair wet.  (And my hair will be dripping wet with sweat in Guatemala.)

5. Normally when I’m leaving imminently, I spend the day sewing a piece of clothing I don’t really need.  Or something for our house.  When I was going to Haiti with no idea what treating cholera was going to look like, I made a skirt.  When I was heading to Thailand, I made this cute quilt.  (The quilt was a winner, if I say so myself.)  But my sewing machine is totally, completely dead.  I thought it was just mostly dead and took it to the shop, but the repairman called me to say that I’d have to replace the foot pedal and plug ($60) first so that he could replace the motherboard ($130 without labor).  I’m pretty sure I can get a new sewing machine for that.  But anyway, no new skirt.

6.  I am completely addicted to black tea.  With sugar and milk (or preferably, half and half).  Now I’m not even sure I’ll have access to a refrigerator.  How am I going to keep my milk cold?  And really, if this is my biggest problem, it’s going to be a good trip.

7. I am traveling with my friend Pam who worked with me in Chicago for five years, was with us as a doula during my labor with Owen, and traveled to Haiti with me the first time.  Let’s just say she’s seen me at my worst.  Last night she reminded me of the our first night in Haiti.  We had taken the red-eye from Denver and got to the compound around noon, where they greeted us and told us to take a nap because we’d be working the night shift that night.  I got up at five and found there was no milk, no way to heat the water for my tea, and no Pepsi as the truck couldn’t get through because of the riots.  Night shift minus caffeine equals no good.

The next morning, after a harrowing night of trying to keep children from dying of cholera, the chaplains asked us what we wanted to pray for.  I said I needed a NICU nurse who could put an IV in a rock, and I needed the Pepsi truck to come.  The chaplain blinked at me for a minute and then prayed that God would hear our requests, no matter how frivolous they seemed.  I went to bed.  When I got up at six, they introduced me to Theresa, the NICU nurse who had just landed and would be working the night shift with us, and Pam told me that the Pepsi truck had gotten through.

So anyway, if you need me today, I’ll be busy praying for a refrigerator.

7 Quick Takes is Jen’s idea and her blog is so fun– go check her out!

6 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes as I pack for Guatemala

  1. I have this memory from when I was a kid, and we were living in the NWT. Our summer was insanely short but we also had SO many puddles from all the snow melting, so the mosquitoes were a terror. Anyway, I remember looking outside at my father, who was gardening, and there was just this *outline* of black dots around him. Any which way he turned, he was still outlined in black dots.

    Mosquitoes. Just completely surrounded by mosquitoes. Ugh. They’re such awful little creatures.


  2. Pingback: Guatemala 9/2014: the work | Learning As We Go

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