They say that you’re not a real Central American traveler until you’ve been super sick. Check.
I got some sort of intestinal parasites and learned that IV’s are truly wonderful things. But that’s not the important lesson here.
I had to leave one of my homestays to go to the hospital, so I missed out on a few days in the campo. As I was making my way back, I ran into some people from a different homestay who worriedly inquired about my health.
Not an hour after arriving back in the community, an earlier host father showed up to see me and ask how I was doing. I was blown away, but also confused how people in very disparate communities (two to four kilometers away, over mountains and tiny trails) had heard the news so quickly.
Apparently, as the gringo, I’m pretty well known around here, and some Solar Center people told my current host family how I was doing, who then wandered to my other families just to appraise them of the news and let them know I would be alright.
As I made my way back to the second visit with my first family, I wondered if they had heard the news, as well. They had, and all expressed great relief that I had made a full recovery.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding trite, but these people are amazing. I truly loved my second stay there, and I’m now an (unofficial) part of their family. I’m welcome back to visit anytime I want, and they have all told me that they’ll miss me.
It looks like I’m finally making those connections with people that are so important. I know that now, if we come back with a larger scale light study, we will have the full support of this community.
Check out some pictures of the families, the solar lights and my zany adventures: http://coloradophotoimages.com/v/ZachMcDade/