Day 5 In Guyana – Death to All Roaches

Want to know how tired I am? (Okay, replace “tired” with “drunk”). I can’t remember the name of the village we visited today. I think it was called Karao.

This was a community of about 200 people, developed 30 years ago in the wake of the mining boom. Getting there, I finally had a chance to field test my snake boots. Yes, everyone, they really are completely waterproof, as I waded knee-deep in the river and emerged perfectly dry. I proceeded with complete confidence in areas possibly filled with snakes and chiggers.

And yes, I continued to look like a complete idiot wearing the bloody things. But I’m a complete idiot with dry feet, no fear of snakes, and a funny accessory to brandish.

Today’s educational intervention was very well received. I’m impressed by how smart the women of these villages are; they are more knowledgable about certain health topics than many of my university students! One recurring theme that is both surprising and suggestive for my other work is the seeming high prevalence of infertility among this population. This is something I need to give some thought to in the future.

Well, my belly continues to grow and my muscles continue to shrink. I am a shadow of my former self. I’m afraid meat has come back onto the diet (as expected). Now I must slowly slip weight training back onto the slate and beat my body back into shape. It’s pretty embarrassing here to be advocating for a healthy lifestyle while sucking in my disgusting gut. I did manage to join 2 other team members on a challenging jog through Bartica yesterday; I could barely keep up!

We met a couple of fellows from Georgetown today who have put together a street theatre performance to teach locals about HIV/AIDS. They are an impressive duo, both goodlooking young Black men with advanced degrees in economics and development studies, but have chosen to forego immediate financial reward in lieu of preparing this national traveling “health soap opera.” Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see their show tomorrow, since we will be in Batavia doing our own show.

Speaking of all things Guyanese, this week is the 30th anniversary of the massacre of Jonestown. No one here is talking about it.

Off to bed…. or rather off to battle the cockroaches. Two fucking ENORMOUS roaches invaded my room –SHIT! One of them just buzzed my head! It’s a flying beast!– and I was up for hours hunting them down. I managed to kill one, but many more remain. These fuckers are bigger than my hand. Aieee….