Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mal de montañas....

Well, all the traveling, dehydration, altitude change finally caught up to me... yesterday morning, I went to visit the migratory bird project I've been coordinating, and was literally moved to tears by the enthusiasm of the kids and the commitment of the professors.... I'll give a more detailed report of that when I upload the photos and feel a little better.
Then, on my way to my next activity I began to feel the first signs of altitude sickness coming on. I had felt a little dizzy that morning with a bit of a headache but thought it would pass.... then, I just proceeded to get so dizzy and nauseated that I had to go home.... it got to the point where I could even keep water down and became so dehydrated that they almost forced me to go to the hospital... luckily someone suggested that I take a couple pills that would make me stop throwing up, and that worked okay.... they made me drink about three gallons of pedialyte and now I feel a little better but still get quite dizzy when I walk around too much. I'm not sure why this happened because I've been to Colombia plenty of times without getting altitude sickness but I think the sudden change of climate from Brazil, and the fact that I was already dehydrated just pushed me over the edge.


Well, my first evening in Bogotá was great.... I'm staying in Alicia O'Campo's house, the same place where I lived two years ago. My friend, Magda, came over to visit while I unpacked and began caught me up on everything going on in her life. Magda and I met while I was working as a translator for Sense International with deafblind people and instantly became friends with the idea that I would teach her English and she would teach me sign language. We were never ale to stick to the lesson plan though, always finding ourselves drawn away into other conversations. We both seem to share a certain compulsive solidarity with those in need.... For any of you that heard my graduation speech for Stetson, Magda is the girl I talked about.
Magda, though, is in a really difficult situation herself... she studied audiology because her passion is teaching deafblind children to communicate, but literally has to make decisions every day about paying for lunch or paying the busfare to get to work. She has made such an incredible difference in so many people's lives and doesn't even have a steady place to live or the guarantee of enough to eat every day.... If she had even half the opportunities that I have, I can only imagine the amazing things she could do... I wish I knew what I could do to help her, but hopefully during this trip, I'll be able to think of a way. On Sunday, she's going to take me out to Ciudad Bolivar and we're going to photograph and film some of the different kids and projects she's working with... my hope is that when I get back the United States I can raise some money for some of the work she's doing.... I've worked with a lot of Non Profits and volunteers, but I can honestly say I very rarely meet people who are so effective in their work and so sincerely selfless in their intentions.