Trying to get my life back together I am finally going each week to Polcho, the aldea where I am doing the hygiene project with the Colgate grant. I absolutely love going and the 30 minute walk each way is beautiful…or so I thought until I got a different view of it today. I went again with Cinthia, one of the nurses at the health center and a good friend, and we were chatting the entire way about different ideas for activities and charlas for these kids during the rest of the school year. When we got there they were really excited to see us and it was obvious they have learned how to correctly brush their teeth since they now volunteer to demonstrate in front of the class and are not afraid of shouting out the next steps during the demonstrations. They’re getting a lot better at actually brushing as well as evidenced by the significant decrease in toothpaste and drool on the ground and on their clothes. I took a great video but have been having problems posting it, so hopefully it will be up soon.
After they finished brushing, showing me their pearly
whites, and playing a game, Cinthia and I finally headed out to go back to Antigua. The kids really like to walk partway with us (and we like it too even though it turns into a battle of wills when it comes to how far they can go) and it took forever to get them to turn around to head back to school. We tried everything until Cinthia saw some cows coming and hollered back to warn them and they finally took off running for the school. That may be something we have to try again. Anyway, as we were passing the man who was walking with the cows warned us that the path was not in a good state. We thanked him but continued on since we didn’t want to head back to the original path because we were going to take a shortcut.
About 50 feet later, we saw exactly why he was warning us. The entire path had turned into grey mud that was mixed with cow poop and who knows what else. We kept going and started to step on the rocks so we wouldn’t slip. I was following Cinthia a little too closely so decided to step on a different rock than she had. I have no idea what exactly what it was I saw, but it definitely wasn’t a rock. My foot immediately fell a foot down into the goop and as I tried to hurry out, I tripped, my other foot and almost entire leg sank down into more mud, and my right shoe came off, stuck in the mud in the first place I stepped, still a foot down. Having at least one free leg I reached dry land only to crash into a thorn bush. Picking out the thorns and laughing, I tried to tell Cinthia that my shoe had fallen off, but she could barely even tell since my foot was now black, the same color of the shoe. When she finally saw that I had lost it and saw where it was, she went back in the mud in her starch white nurses uniform to dig it out.
Covered in mud while she only had a little on her, we slowly made it to another village on the way where her aunt gave me some water to clean myself off as all the school children were watching, mesmerized. I don’t think they’ve seen many gringas walk into the school with mud and cow poop up to their knees as well as on their hands and arms. After taking the long way back since after all that we completely missed the shortcut, we finally got back to Antigua to make a work plan for the rest of the school year but ended up putting it off until Thursday. I had to get home to take a bucket bath.