9:45 a.m.: Little Nicaraguan girl brings me fruit from a nearby tree. I notice the locals eat a few before — must be safe. Take a huge bite. SALVATION. Just like a mango.
10:15 a.m.: Group member catches me using a stick to rattle mysterious plant off remote branches. The 11 or 12 in reach are already deep within my digestive system.
3:02 a.m.: Feel like I need to pee, but also feel like I can’t open my eyes. This must be a dream.
6:30 a.m.: Group mates rustle and coax me to get out of bed on time. After no response, they rip sheets off. *Gasp*
6:31 a.m.: Someone leads me to a mirror and holds a warm washcloth against my face as I pry open a crusty left eyelid. I nearly jump at the stranger looking back at me. Think Kirstie Alley meets sandpaper.
7:45 a.m.: Group leaders tell me to stay calm as they walk me down the dirt road to the health center we had toured a few days before as an example of “third world medical care.”
10:00 a.m.: A dog grazes my leg as I sit on the hospital bed, and a man hobbles in and tries to sell me beads and peanuts. My vision’s blurry but I can make out a sign that reads “Symptoms of Cholera.” Does cholera still exist?!!
10:15 a.m.: After refusing to take a shot, the nurse — who appears younger than I do — demands that I leave.
10:30 a.m.: Instead of arriving back at my bed, I am surprised to realize my group leaders had guided me to a garden owned by the town elder — a natural medicine guru. Her “special” honey drips down my face. As the sticky 70–year–old woman reaches down my shirt, she begins to chant the names of vegetables in Spanish. I say a prayer of my own.
11 a.m.: Despite his best judgment, a sympathetic Nicaraguan customs official allows me on the plane home. Can’t wait for class tomorrow.