Posted by: Ali | February 25, 2010

The Plague

What a week!  And it’s only Thursday.  Besides the usual and expected problems of running out of paint, losing things, losing volunteers, people being late, lack of hot water, lack of space, and just general chaos that exists when 25 people share the same living space, we have had a plague descend on our house.  Literally.

We started off with 25 volunteers.  One of them got either mono or strep throat the day before they were supposed to leave and had to drop out last minute, which left us with 24.  Yesterday (Wednesday), two of the volunteers started feeling bad after lunch time at the placement, so I sent them home to sleep, which left us with 22.  Later that evening, one of the two said that he was really not feeling good, so I had to take him to the hospital, where it turned out that he had a gastrointestinal infection.  They gave him an IV and prescribed a bunch of medicine.

Today (Thursday) morning, 7 more volunteers said that they weren’t feeling well and had been vomiting all night, so Ana Maria took all seven of them to the clinic, with the group leader who opted to stay with them, while I took the rest of the volunteers to the placement, which left me with 14.  After at the placement a few hours, a few of the other volunteers were not feeling well.  One of them took a pill which she turned out to be allergic to, and started having a reaction.  I had to rush her to the ER with another volunteer who wanted to come with her, which left 12 at the placement.  While I was at the ER, I got a call from the placement saying that two more of the volunteers were feeling sick and wanted to go home.  From the ER, I arranged our bus to take them home, and Ana Maria took them to the clinic.

I headed back to the placement when the girl with the allergy was safely at home and treated, and only had about a half-hour left of time to work.  When I got back there, I discovered two more people sitting out, and one working despite having thrown up a few times.  So I had the bus take everyone home.  On the bus, one of the people who had been sitting out started shaking a lot, so when I got home I took her to the clinic too, leaving only 9 healthy people.

Some thoughts:

  • I got to witness 3 different IVs in less than 24 hours.  I hate needles, and I hate hospitals.
  • When I was in the ER with the girl with allergies, the friend that came with left his shirt back at the placement, because it was hot.  Nearly every person there asked me if we had just come from the beach.  One person took me aside and told me that it wasn’t proper for my friend to be walking around without a shirt.
  • I was sitting in the waiting room, sitting cross legged, when a lady told me to put my feet down.  I did, assuming she wanted me to not get the seat dirty, but it turned out she was concerned that I wasn’t being ladylike.
  • What were they sick with?  There are a few exceptions, but I think it was a reaction to something they ate combined with the fact that they had been partying hard all week, not sleeping well, dehydration, and spending every day in the hot sun.  Moral of the story?  Get lots of sleep, drink lots of water, and wear clean underwear when you leave the house, just like mommy said.


  1. With age, we discover that our mothers were always right.



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