Map of the Americas

Map of the Americas
We are using this map to find our way home. We will be marking where we are in big fat red marker like Indiana Jones. (map idea courtesy of Blake Golden)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nuevo Rocafuerte

Wow, I just have so much to tell, and I simply cannot do it in one
blog entry. The reason I haven´t blogged in a while is because for
the past two weeks I have been in a place where there has not been any
internet. In the middle of the rainforest. How I got there and more
importantly how I got here, Iquitos Peru, has simply been one of the
best adventures of my life. So I´m planning on blogging like three or
four times this week in hopes to catch up. We will have a blog about
Nuevo Rocafuerte, Pantoja, the boat ride, and finally Iquitos, so
yeah, I guess four blogs in four or five days. Pictures are to come
soon, maybe later today.

Well, so we went all through Ecuador to a town called Coca, where I
blogged last. Then from Coca we took a 12 hour boat ride (a simple
skip down the river in comparison to later) to a town called Nuevo
Rocafuerte. I had been planning on working in Nuevo Rocafuerte for
like a month, as I had a contact in the little hospital they have
there. The town is a lot like Mayberry on first impression. There
are about 300 people that live there, one restaurant, one bar, one
police station, one health center, and about 300 canoes. In
Switzerland I think the people get issued a knife when they turn 16 or
something like that. In Nuevo Rocafuerte they probably have a similar
tradition except with canoes made out of trees. There are no cars, as
there is nowhere to drive, but plenty of canoes.

I would liken Nuevo Rocafuerte to the American Frontier back in the
day. Now I know I wasn´t around for the 1849 gold rush, but I have
seen the movie Lonesome Dove, Dances with Wolves, and more importantly
put in countless hours into the legendary game, Oregon Trail. The
family I lived with had a farm that grew bananas and rice. In their
backyard they had tons of chickens, ducks, hogs, banana trees, mango
trees, coconut trees, papaya trees, and a dog. I mean, they really
lived off the land. The father, Cesar, also had a tool shed about
back where I am sure the hospital probably does its neurosurgery. If
your motor to your canoe breaks down, it´s not like you can take it to
the shop, you´ve gotta fix it. Also, you can´t just go to the grocery
store or the market, because there isn´t one. I mean this place was

Well I got there and after five days of working in the hospital I
realized we were averaging like five or six patients a day. There
just wasn´t a lot going on in the hospital. I asked if this was
normal and found out that they are just a really slow hospital. Now
six people a day in the hospital would be a dream come true if I was
on call at Children´s in Birmingham. But here where I need to practice
my Spanish (learn my medical Spanish), it is just unacceptable for me.
That coupled with it being painstakingly boring in that town led me
to go ahead and go to Iquitos, Peru where I knew I could see many
patients. (In fact my first day is tomorrow and I think I´m seeing
like 20 some odd in the morning.) I thought the trip to Iquitos would
take something like four days. I was wrong. More later.

And some Blog Points:

1. While in route to Nuevo Rocafuerte this person stops at a house in
the middle of nowhere and takes his luggage off the boat with him.
Two suitcases, one he is carrying, the other on his back. He sets the
first one down and unzips it after he gets off and a puppies head
sticks out of the bag. It was oh so cute. Well it climbs out, then
another, then another, then another. I can´t remember, but I think
six puppies crawl out of that suitcase. So, if you are planning on
taking your dog with you to South America, no need buying a crate.
Just put it in your suitcase.

2. While working in the hospital, I worked with this one girl who
added ¨ita¨ and ¨ito¨ to every single word she said. Adding ito and
ita to the ends of words is a way to make a word smaller and more
affectionate. Instead of saying Hola amigo (hey friend) you might say
Hola amigito (Hey friend (younger or smaller) and buddy). It´s
endearing and I love that aspect of the language. But the other day
we were talking with this mother and infant. Well she says Por favor,
saque la rop¨ita¨ de el. Please take off his ¨little cute clothes¨.
Then keeps saying it and then we get to his diarrhea, well she says
Como es su cacita? That is basically like saying What is his little
cute poopoo like? No. Nothing affectionate about that.

3. The other day my friend Bjorn was taking a bus and had his luggage
underneath the bus. When he arrived at his destination he feels like
his luggage smells a bit. When he questions the driver, it turns out
that a pig peed on it while both the pig and bag were riding under the
bus. Only in South America.



1 comment:

Abby Maddox said...

I, too have put in many hours on the oregon trail! Looking forward to hearing more