I hitchhiked to town today in the slender lunch hour. I don't speak much spanish. The driver who picked me up was going on and on. I could tell he was asking me a question. So I turned to him and told him the truest phrase that I can say in Spanish:
"I like melon juice."
And then he let me off at the corner in Pucon.
Last night was a blur, kids sick, crying in their rooms (sickness in foreign countries brings out the homesick), sleeping on the floors of their bathrooms, asking for Sprite, for Gatorade, turning away from water in disgust. Trop in his room rocking a fever and glowing with sweat, people stumbling about. I bleached the bathrooms, scraped girls off the floor and depositted them in their sleeping bags outside under the stars (fresh air the best remedy.) Sat at the foot of beds and told stories, wiped away tears, doled out Sipro, chilled Sprite. I boil potatoes with butter and salt for Palmer, Tracy and poor Trop. David was so so smart, giving us an armory of liquids and medicines and soup. I've never seen a stomach virus hit so virulently and all at once in a group! Usually it's more of a domino effect thing. Well when it hits all at once there is sort of a festive feel in the air. I walked into the boy's cabin and found a group of them sitting around the table, it was past curfew but they were up just trying to feel better. Making runs for the bathroom. I cleaned up another bathroom, sat on the edge of a bed and put my hand on a forehead, wondering How long till this hits me?? And then as I'm walking away Keegan calls from his room...patheticly....."meellinaaa?" Yes? I walk back to the cabin. "Oh, Keegan's just trying to get a sprite from you" says Isaac, who is hovering near the bathroom. Keegan who is healthy as a horse. "OHH!! MAN! MY STOMACH! SOMEONE HAND ME A TRASSSSHHH CANNN!!!!" I peer in his window. He's lying in bed cracking up. "I REALLY REALLY THINK I NEED A SPRITE....." I fall down laughing, exhausted. We're outa sprite, buddy. And I do not advise you to share with the others.
I walk back to my tent amongst the refugees...my term for the healthy kids who sleep outside to avoid the germs, and then the sick kids sleeping outside just to get some fresh air. They are talking to each other back and forth. Having a funny little sleep over. Then Jason, one of the healthy ones, sprints past us to the bathroom. "Jason, how are you?" I call. He answers, "NO BUENO!" And starts to throw up. The others lift their heads. "It's true. The plauge hath laid a dreary palm upon Jason."
In the morning, Jason is still in the throes of it, and two of the other healthy kids are sick, but the others are much better. They march up to the staff cabin and I dole out Sipro into their open hands. Trop is up and making breakfast. Everyone has bright eyes. It's Tracy's Birthday. And another day is upon us.