Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Honduras Departure Eve

Twenty-four hours from the moment I write this, where will I be? Well, actually not Honduras yet. I'll be in El Salvador, on my several-hour layover. I am trying to figure out how easy (possible?) it will be to leave the airport and check out San Salvador, since I have six+ hours. We'll see. Then, it's Honduras time! And Thursday night (the 29th) I will be in San Pedro Sula meeting my fellow Habitat for Humanity Global Village team members and if I can help it not meeting any dastardly malaria-parasite-carrying critters. Mosquito Coast, here I come!

Actually, I did just watch that movie (from Netflix, natch) to get into the mood. I wonder if I should have picked up the Paul Theroux book to take with me? It is my first foray into Central America! The land of beaches, jungles, Mayan ruins...the land that forever confuses norteamericanos, who can never quite figure out to which continent it belongs...the first land in all my travels to get me taking malaria pills.

Over the last day or so I've been wondering: why do malaria pills have to be so creepy? I mean, I'm thankful that they exist and all that, seeing as I am totally one of those canaries in the bug bite coal mine (to mix a metaphor): if there is a bloodthirsty insect anywhere around, it will find me. First. But, so, malaria pills seem to be both the traveler's salvation and the bane of his/her existence. Everyone complains about them, endlessly discusses them, debates them, hates them. They all come with a bazillion side effects warnings; I'm not usually susceptible to most pills' side effects (and I don't ever vomit, just on principle) but the malaria pill side effects are all like "You might get dizziness and the nausea right on through insomnia, hallucinations, depression, maybe even suicide...." Hello?

Rare side effects aside, I learned that the medication I'm taking was invented at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in the 1970s. Not only is the very thought of taking a pill invented by the military really creepy, accepted worldwide malaria med or no, but as I think about that time I can only think I might actually be morally opposed to this pill as well. What, was it invented to keep the war in the jungle going -- the useless, senseless, tragic, nasty war that never should have been launched? Shudder to think.

Anyhoo, that's the malaria update. I'm still going to wear long sleeves a lot and douse myself in mosquito repellent. Especially when we visit the Mayan ruins. And at dusk. And stuff. Maybe it won't be so bad during the daytime house-building? Maybe I can attack the buggers with hammers? Or power saws?

Once again, I want to offer up my heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this trip. I am so pleased that so many of you recognize what a good organization Habitat for Humanity is and I can't thank you enough for your donations. But here you go, your name in lights!

*Amy S.*Blaine*Carla*Chet*Crystal*Glory*Heather D.*Heather S.* Jeanette*Jenn*Jill*Joyce*Karen*Kim*Lesley*Lillian*Maeve*
Marcia*Megan*Mike* Melissa*Shelly*Stacey*Steve*Tom*Wendy*

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