February 27, 2010

God Bless Bolivia

I was beyond tired last night. BEYOND. I'm beyond tired now, but at least am sitting in the shade on international (UN) soil.

We spent most of the day yesterday at Camp Charlie - the Bolivians offered us lunch, then we chased down a "sick" dog (though I've never seen a "sick" dog run so fast!) the soldiers said needed treatment. Long story short (as you can tell, the blogging is wearing on me... as is the heat... and the stress...) the dog died, and the team has (in my mind at least) officially hit the breaking point. Maybe it's just me. Or not. Whatever.

After lunch and epic surgery fail, I was trying to find the solider who got me the awesome, first class in the escort truck yesterday; I couldn't remember his name - MP said it was "Loredo" or "Loreda" so I walked all over the base looking for him. I recognized a guy from the mess hall and asked him for help - he took me to the 2nd Colonel's office. Not who I was looking for, but was the same guy who brought us the orphanage cat the second day and a very nice man.

I was too tired to make an attempt at explaining "You are not the guy I was looking for, sorry to bother you and waste your time, Sir" so I sat down and he politely asked me "What's up?" The heat and exhaustion and truck bitchiness got to me, and I started to cry. I told him (in ever so poor Spanglish) that the dog we tried to treat died, and now we were 0 for 2 in treating Bolivian army animals. I was embarrassed that we (essentially) killed all the animals they asked us to treat in spite of their kindness, hospitality and and free food. But let's talk about how awesome Bolivia is (well... at least the little part of it in Haiti) - 2nd Col. Suarez told me the orphanage found another cat (a kitten actually) and he wanted to bring it to us to treat. Really? Really. He was going to bring it by SONAPI later on for an exam, antiparasitics, etc. I was still crying and am sure I looked a hot mess - covered in dirt, days away from a decent shower and bags under my eyes that could hold water. But he was really, truly grateful for all of us and our help. That's why I love these trips. Despite the weather, accommodations, food, water (or lack thereof), and stress, I meet the most awesome people in the most obscure corners of the world. Then, realized that maybe we were doing something good after all.

Still on the hunt for the unknown solider, 2nd Col. Suarez had one of his assistants walk me over to an office building (where I assume I will find this Solider Lorenda?) but instead, I find myself in the office of THE Colonel, Henry Loredo. Again with the embarrassment... "Lo siento. Pero usted no es el hombre que estoy buscando...." I sat down, 1/2 laughing 1/2 crying, and all of a sudden a 1/2 dozen Bolivian soldiers are running around with coffee, juice, snacks, the works. I had absolutely NO idea what to say to this man, other than gracias and how awesome the Bolivian people are, especially to the animals. I've never been to Bolivia, but if the Bolivian people are 1/2 as nice as the soldiers, I think I will find it quite lovely.

We got back to camp late, had dinner, and I passed out. I thought everyone would wake me up when the Bolivians came by with the new orphan kitten, but I slept straight through it. Also slept through another round of PTSD and a make-shift kegger with the Brazilian soldiers. I'm sad I missed the late night kitten exam and Bolivian/Brazilian UN party, but at this point, I'm at the airport, ready to get the f up outta here. I collected emails and phone numbers and I'll stay in touch with everyone some how.

Getting cranky....

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