And I’m back to hand washing my socks and underwear and having hungry children watch me eat my rice and beans. I am back to choosing which glass of water is safe to drink and having middle aged woman touch my sun burn because they have never seen skin get so red. They say it takes a couple of days to get back in the groove of things but I may be prolonging the effect by hiding in my house and listening to the Allman brothers, pretending that I am still back in the states. In Lobo’s and my absence the rats have taken over the house and now they think they own the place. I almost caught one as it ran across the floor two nights ago but it was too fast and good at hiding. As I chased it with a broom I felt like Tom from Tom & Jerry, except maybe a little angrier because my mouse had the nerve to leave droppings all over my bed, in all of my drawers and on the kitchen counter. I have marks on my torso that itch, I can’t decide if it is because I was bit several times by something, the humidity is giving me a skin rash or if it is related to the fact that I slept in a bed that was covered in rat droppings (I had them washed the next day, and I brushed them off the night of). I suppose the few days of getting back in the groove really means a few days getting back to the point where you are not ridiculously uncomfortable. I cleaned up the house, wrote a PEPFAR proposal (where we try to incorporate HIV/AIDS education into environmental education) and am trying now to take care of Jerry with various methods (sticky paper, tying a cheerio to a mouse trap and putting a stick of dynamite in the mouse hole.)
Getting Lobo back into Constanza was much easier than getting him out. There was considerably less vomiting and because we rode in the back of a truck on the way up the mountain no one really cared if he got sick anyway. We were more afraid for our lives, as the truck had 10 people in the back along with 17 people’s luggage (which included my dog in his dog cage.) I was straddling Lobo’s cage when the driver picked up the four additional passengers (that brought the count in the back from 6 to 10 people) and was blown away by a man’s willingness to stand on the tail gate of the truck and use Lobo’s cage as his only support. I asked them if they were getting a free ride because I would never pay for such a precarious seat in a guagua. The man and his friend said they paid and quickly changed the subject to the fact that my dog is missing a leg. “Three feet. Your dog only has three feet.” He informed me. The other 8 people in the back repeated his observation “three feet!” I smiled and told him that he was good at counting and asked him where he learned to count so well. Prison, he told me, he had been there for the past three years. The other nine people repeated his statement “three years!” Oops, I thought to myself, I guess I shouldn’t tease the ex-convict about his ability to count. I asked him what part of Constanza he lived in and he told me barrio Las Flores. That’s where I live. “What part of Las Flores do you live in?” I asked him. He told me arriba, which means the upper part (I never know if I live in the upper part or lower part). Either way, we decided to be buddies for the ride up and he helped me take Lobo out of the back when we got to the neighborhood.