Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day 3 - Health Assessments and Dancing

Today we were to spend the early morning assessing our families, but when we got to the academic center to pick up the brigadistas (grade school volunteers) we discovered that the children we were expecting to do screenings on at 11 were already there and waiting for us. We quickly threw together stations for height and weight, blood pressure, eyes, ears, lice and lung assessments. There were apparently only 28 children between six and eleven years of age, but it seemed like a small (in stature, not personnel) army. Laura and I manned the blood pressure station with only one pediatric cuff and then I roamed and shot some footage of the frantic but surprisingly organized proceedings.

Once we wrangled all the children through every station we packed up and headed for the barrio. For the first (and possibly, last) time we met the only child in our family, Rosa, as well as a woman named Carla, of indeterminate relation. We spent close to two hours doing as full of an assessment as is possible when your communication is half mimed. I was proud of myself for figuring out the words for 'tapeworm' (tenia) and 'kidney stone' (piedra de riñón) when they were mentioned. My Spanish, while still by no means fluent, is coming back quickly, and I wish I had time to be immersed in it longer so I could work on improving it further. As the assessments we did contain medical information, none of it will be posted here.

I am still very uncomfortable with the living situation with regard to Rosa. The information we receive keeps changing and her answers today seemed very rehearsed, "everyone respects me and no one touches me". She also contradicted the information about what she does after school and while she stated that Carla was her mother, Carla denied this claim. That, coupled with the other suspicious behavior (Cesar having a padlock on his bedroom door) makes me question the safety of this environment. We will continue to work with the family and so will the UPOLI students after we leave, so hopefully she will get the help she needs, even if that is only with improving her reading skills (at which she is about 5-6 years behind).

After leaving the barrio we went back to the B+B for a quick change and went out sightseeing. We went up to a lookout point that had an amazing view of Lake Managua and Volcano Momotombo and watched some people zip-line, thought we sadly did not get to participate. A few people wanted to go to church so we went to the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, lovingly referred to by the locals as La Chichona (this in reference to the large number of breast-like cupolas on the roof).
Mass was of course all in Spanish and therefor even less understandable than normal for me, and being in a Christian church is no less uncomfortable in a foreign country, but the sides of the church were open, there was a lovely cool breeze and the man signing hymns and playing guitar was wonderful, so all in all it was rather enjoyable.

We sped back to the hotel for (another) change of clothes and went out yet again for dinner and dancing. Admittedly, I was kind of dreading it, but rather than have dinner and go to a club we went to a restaurant with a dance floor and ended up having an absolute blast. The sangria was good enough to rival Fernando's, the food was excellent (I got to try tongue for the first, and last, time) and that ballroom dance class senior year wasn't a total waste of time after all. Everyone just wanted to have a lot of fun (Amanda is both a good dancer and a little crazy), there were no skeezy guys present, and we got to show Managua a choreographed Macarena, so I'd call it a success. A fantastic end to a very good day.

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