Friday, March 5, 2010

A Trip to the Doctor

A trip to the doctor
I had an appointment for the doctor in Apia for 11:00…which meant that I had to take either the 6 A.M boat, or the 8A.M one. I know that usually a bus comes in my village around 5:30 that will take me for the 8 A.M boat, but sometimes it shows up late and I will miss the boat. My solution was to take the bus for the 6:00 boat.
I heard rumor that the bus will come anywhere from 1:45 and 2:30 in the morning. Luckily I had my sister Sharlene to travel with so we could figure out the bus together. My alarm went off at 1:30, after only about two hours of sleep. We headed to the bus and it came close to 2 o’clock. We traveled on the bus for awhile, with the bus driver showcasing his chain smoking ways, and finally arrived at the wharf around 4:45 in the morning. (Umi malaga! And it was still just the beginning!) The boat was so crowded that there were no seats at all inside, and outside all the seats were wet from the rain. Sharlene and I found a little corner in the ferry to lie down and take a much needed nap. I woke up my own drool dripping down my bag (it made a great pillow housing clothes for the following day). Shortly after I woke up, tons of people were crowding all around me to try and rush down the stairs to be the first ones off the va’a. There were so many of them that I thought that they were going to fall on me. I kept having flashbacks to my lovely Staten Island ferry, and the announcements they make on every trip to stay off the stairs until the va’a has docked. Here the stairs felt more dangerous, but that did not stop anyone from being on them.
We got on the pasi o va’a and for awhile it felt like it was the express bus because it made very few stops. I decided that sitting on a lap for an hour did not sound like fun, so I stood, surprising many of the Samoans around me. I think I was asked about 100 times during the ride to lap sit.
At the market, I said my goodbye to Sharlene as she headed to our other uso’s house, Sharon. I did some errands and headed to the Peace Corps office to get my ride to the doctor’s office for eleven. I was so tired from such a long day of travelling, but I knew I could not go back to sleep yet even though my day felt like it should have been over already!
My ears have been giving me trouble since November. At first I thought it was just swimmer’s ear, but it just didn’t seem to ever get better. It has been weeks since I have been in the water, and I miss it terribly! I really want to go swimming and scuba diving, so I need this problem fixed ASAP!
I was put on new medication again, and the pills have the worst smell in the world. I took them first in the Peace Corps office, and when I opened the package people began looking for an animal because it smelled like cat urine. Seriously. So when I swallowed the pills I began to smell like cat urine. I brushed my teeth, ate food, but nothing could completely get rid of the smell. To make matters worse I began belching cat urine which tasted just as bad as the original pill.
The good thing about taking this kind of pill is that it will keep any unwanted attention away from me. I know I will not get any unwanted boys coming near me as the smell of me now scared them away! I think they are really the abstinence pill because of that. (Not that I am complaining at all! In the contrary I am completely happy!)
The next day I headed back to my island, ready for another long journey. I got on the pasi o va’a before nine, and so I would make the noon boat. The bus was packed and so I did the Samoan thing and allowed someone to sit on my lap. I don’t think it would have been bad if there were not as many bags on the bus. The ground was full on boxes, buckets, suitcases and many other bags so there was no room to move my feet and they fell asleep quickly.
The girl that sat on my lap quickly became my best friend telling me about her life, and invited me to her boyfriend’s house. I decided…why not? What else did I have to do for the day (besides go to church…). Her boyfriend picked us up from the wafu (wharf) and we drove to his village where I met his family. They ranted and raved about how they knew Phil, the volunteer near them, and how good a person he was.
After our visit, they decided to drive me all the way back to my village (which was like an hour’s drive!). It is amazing how friendly and welcoming every single Samoan I meet is. They are so quick to invite you into their family and allow you to become one of them. It feels like everyone I meet here is quickly becoming a part of my extended Samoan family and I love being able to interact with them! (Especially now that I am starting to understand more and more of what they talk about!)

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