I have returned safe and sound to San Antonio and to my regularly scheduled activities. I also returned to a killer cold. (I've actually considered the possibility of having a cold and the flu at the same time.) It put me out on Wednesday night and has pretty much kept me out for the last 3 days. A few other things happened on Wednesday as well. I'll start with the shorter story:
As I was waiting for the bus in Santiago Zamora, I saw someone washing their laundry in the public sink. (Not unusual.) The female was barefoot. (Also not too unusual.) The girl of about 3 years old managed to climb up on the edge of the sink and used a bucket to help her little arms reach down into the water. She would then proceed to scrub her little clothes using a tiny chunk of soap (which was okay because her clothes were tiny). I watched for long enough to know that she was not being assisted by any adult and, in fact, probably did not have an adult responsible for her within 75-100 feet (about as far away as I was seated). Children like this are not the reason I decided to come to Guatemala, but they are the reason I came; I just didn't know it yet.
Another little thing which happened on Wednesday was the potential addition of another member of my family here in Guatemala. Up until this week, we were a family of 6--myself, 3 cats, 1 dog, and a chicken--and if the newest member lives through the weekend, I might call it a family of 7. Sometime this week, a litter of kittens was born at the school in Santiago Zamora where I work. My co-workers and students tell me that there were 5 kittens. Apparently, on Wednesday morning, there were only 3 kittens still there (in this space between the ceiling of a classroom and the roof). By afternoon, two of those three kittens had died. It was decided by my students and co-workers that the kittens had been abandoned and that the remaining one would likely die when the cool of night set in. At 3:45 pm, my co-workers informed me of all of this. "Annalisa," they said, "you like cats, right? Wouldn't you like one more?"
Okay, for the record, I LIKE cats. I think they're wonderful creatures. I wanted ONE. I have THREE. So, when you already have two more than you wanted, what's one more?
I pulled out the screaming and hungry baby using two brooms strapped together, proceeded to teach an hour of 9th grade, and then headed home, stopping to pick up a small package of powdered baby formula on the way. I didn't figure this kitten would last the night, let alone long enough to use up much formula.
Thursday, I was supposed to be translating for a mission group who came through the church I attend here, but I woke up feeling like a semi-truck had somehow managed to park completely inside my head. (Remember that cold I was telling you about?) I was also running a fever, and my throat--while I had managed to squeak out a few words in English the day before during classes--was not going to allow talking. That being said, I canceled my translating plans at 6 am. Around 10, I started feeling okay. I mean, I still wasn't sure about the talking thing, but I figured I was strong enough to take the kitten (and Mia, one of my older cats) to the vet in Antigua. I got to Antigua on the bus, walked 8 blocks to the vet's office, and after about 5 minutes of being there, nearly blacked out. Anyway, long story short, cats all taken care of for now. It is Saturday morning. The baby is still alive, and my mucus isn't such a disturbing color.
And...that's the update for now.