Monday, August 9, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010: A New Room

I spent the morning trying to catch up on field notes, sending emails, and planning the next couple of weeks as we wind down. When I arrived home, I noticed that the family here had cleaned my room and the furniture was moved completely around. My dresser was on the opposite wall, with the bed and desk moved too. It’s a nice change, but a little unexpected. I know that my room is clean now, but it’s a little odd to see all my belongings in a different area.

For Spanish class, I talked more to Jessica about the speaker from last Wednesday. The speaker said something to the effect that people here are malnourished because they just like to eat rice and beans all the time. This made me a little angry because many people here have so little, so it’s hard to believe that they only want to eat rice and beans. I explained this to my Spanish teacher and she said it is actually a little true. She said for many people here, corn is a major part of their diet, and a big study just showed that when people consume corn, their bodies absorb fewer nutrients from other foods.

Many people start feeding their babies corn tortillas at 3 or 4 months of age and the mothers stop nursing so the babies are malnourished and many of them die. Between 7 months to 2 years of age, kids eat coffee and bread for breakfast, and few fruits are given because of the belief that kids will be parasites from them. I’m not sure how true all of this is, but it’s still interesting to hear. I should also mention that my Spanish teacher has attended 8 years at the university level so she’s not a completely unreliable source. Nevertheless, the info is so different from our US customs that it would be interesting to look into more.

One more thing… There’s something here called the Canicula. It’s a period of a week in the rainy season without rain. We are not in it, but it’s supposed to happen sometime soon and we’ve all been waiting for it to happen. My feet are constantly soggy, whether I wear shoes or not, and there’s maybe been 3 days in the past month without rain for at least part of the day… 2 of them were this weekend (for most of the day). After a long winter in New Jersey, I was so looking forward to a beautiful summer, which this is definitely turning out to be. However, I do wish that the Canicula would start sometime soon because I love wearing dry clothes!