I wake up, laying half on a pad and half on my backpack, disoriented and uncertain of where I am. I blink slowly. Ugh. My stomach adjusts itself and passes gas, indignant that I refuse to wake up and go to the bathroom again. I gently push a finger into my stomach but its so bloated it does not give at all. I roll onto my right side and close my eyes again. Maybe a minute passes, maybe 30, but who knows, there is no clock. My eyes open to the darkness again. Shit this hurts. I sit up. The pressure on my bladder is unbearable. I stand up and grope my way along the wall in search of the door. It’s torrentially down pouring. I cautiously pee from our doorway, plagued by a fear of an accidental solid emergency. I stare blankly at the dirt, trying to pass gas and relieve my stomach pressure. A half a foot long rat scurries across my vision and I take a step backward into the house. I continue to stand, observing and inhaling the rain, mesmerized by its persistence and the sounds of its fury on our tin roof.

       What time is it I wonder to myself? I tread carefully back to our bed, fluff my sweatshirt pillow, and meticulously steal some blanket back from Sean. I drift in and out of sleep for who knows how long. My eyes open again. I repeat my earlier routine, and relieve the pressure on my bladder for the 4th time out of 6 that night. Reluctantly, I make the trek up the hill to the outhouse at our neighbor’s house. The dogs erupt in a frantic shouting match, disturbed by my unexpected presence. In vain, I try to silence them.

        A mere 5 feet from the outhouse, I too am confronted with the unexpected. In the middle of the path, an old man sits crouched, pooping. Weird I think to myself. But I wait; we exchange a nod in passing and I continue my search for the outhouse. No moon and no stars complicate my predicament. I sit. I think. Friends, porcelain toilets and soft fluffy dogs flash across my mind. 15 minutes later I reemerge. I stand at the top of the hill, overlooking the distant flashes of lightning. I smirk and shake my head. This is absurd I say aloud to myself, and chuckle quietly.

       I walk slowly home, force open the creaky door, and stand in the darkness; only the faint noises of the disgruntled dogs are audible over the sounds of rushing water. I hope it’s almost morning I think dejectedly. I repeat my earlier routine and settle back into bed. Its dark, I can´t read. What should I do? I drift off. My eyes open. I stand. I pee. I return. What is wrong with me I silently wonder? I stare at the ceiling and smirk again. At least I’m not hungry I think.

      Then it happens. First a little hesitant and nervous about being first, but undeniably the noise I have been waiting for all night. But was it a mistake? No, I hear another call up the hill, and another, bolstered by an orchestra of dogs that add their barks. The roosters were crowing and soon I could wake up and begin my 29th day in Guatemala.
Patti Beer
7/15/2010 11:17:25

We sll hope you are feeling better! What long nights those are....

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patricia c.
4/14/2011 10:44:22

Por lo que lei, fue una experiencia grandiosa, Eres increible como cuentas tu historia vivida en Guatemala. Personas como tu, jovenes con ideas para cambiar el mundo, y que esta experiencia te sirva, con los conocimientos adquiridos, crear mecanismos para paliar los problemas economicos de la mayoria de habitantes del planeta. Pobreza, desgraciadamente va exister,mas en los paises como este, que los politicos ven nada mas, por el beneficio propio, no asi los del pueblo, seres que utilizan para hacerse mas ricos. Adelante, joven caminante, toda experiencia es buena, aunque de regreso a tu casa llevaras algunos huespedes indeseables, pero en tu corazon y en mente llevas, el amor de toda nuestra gente, que a pesar de su pobreza, lo que siempre entrega es su corazon y su alegria, Sonrie siempre, eres un angel. Dios te bendiga. (Podrias ser un escritor exitoso, lo transportas a uno en tus escritos.)

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