I am writing from the inside of an old church, which is where the guys are sleeping tonight. The ladies get the new church, which is bigger and better, because there are more of them, and at least we get a roof over our head this year. I just took a bucket shower, which is something if you are ever in Nicaragua, I would recommend at least once, just for the experience. Basically you go to the well, crank up the wheel until you get a bucket o water, go behind a tin wall, and do a hand scoop shower kind of thing. It may not sound like much, but when you have been outside all day in the dirt and manure, and the temperature is 95, and the water you are drinking from your camel back water bottle is about 95degrees, it feels really good. Now you know I am not one to complain or exaggerate, but 95 is hot, too hot. My ideal temperature is 25, no wind on the chairlift, and fresh snow on the slope. So this hot, dry, 95 degree stuff is no vacation, and I don’t want to hear anyone say when I get back “how was your vacation?” Because this is work and not pleasure, even if I take pleasure in it, it still doesn’t count. And I will tell Dr Brian that this does not count against my vacation, it should be counted as continuing education, for all that I suffer through. He will not think so, and neither will all the good people at the animal hospital, but when I tell them about all the pigs and cows and horses and tigers (ok that one is a little exaggerated but they don’t know there are no tigers in Nicaragua), even they will understand and say “you should take the rest of the week off after having worked so hard on you continuing education mission survival trip” and then I will feel a little better. And I know my wife will understand and make a big lobster dinner, but no guya pinto, or rice and beans, because we have that 2-3 times each day. And my 2 golden retrievers will understand because they agree with anything I say as long as it is followed by food. As I am writing this they have turned off the generator so the only light in this building is the light from my iPad, which does not look bright in the day, but in the dark it is a beacon for all the bugs, and as I am typing, I am squishing all the little bugs on the screen, leaving black skid marks, as you can see. So I will go to bed now, and finish the blog in the morning, as long as I get a good nights sleep and not get woken up by barking dogs, crowing roosters, or roommates who ate too many pintos, no that would not be good and I would wake up cranky, which I know you would not believe. So goodnight for now.

Well let me tell you about last night. It was a little noisy…actually it was a lot noisy, but this year it was not in massive numbers over sustained periods, but lower numbers of persistent yakkers. First the dogs, one in particular, who if I can ever identify, will get a special surgery combination, laryngeal cordectomies/orhciectomy at no charge, and with a smile on my face, because he took special joy barking off and on all night. That was followed of course, by the roosters who started crowing at exactly 2:11 am. Now why they need to do anything at that hour other than sleep is beyond me, and led me to think of some practical ideas I could share with the people to help them educate their special needs animals. I was thinking of some form of discipline, firm and repetitive, but not in a mean way, but a nice way. Like spanking. Maybe if we can catch them, which is difficult enough, we could administer some punishment that would impress upon them the foolishness of their ways. Or maybe I will just eat them. Yes, that would make me feel better, but only the roosters, the dogs get the surgery.

As for our work, yesterday was a good day to get out and vaccinate and deworm the cows, and some horses and pigs. Their were some lame horses that needed attention, so I pretended I knew what I was doing, and gave them some antibiotics, antiinflammatory, and antiparacitides, and shook my head up and down like a professor, and said fini. Sometimes it is good when you don’t know the language, because as the saying goes, if you don’t know what you are talking about, don’t give them evidence that proves it. It was a good day in the field.

It is very dry this year, and the rainy season, which is supposed to start in May, has not started yet. There is no green on the ground, as the animals have cleared it out with constant grazing. But they are in pretty good shape now, considering the conditions, but they are praying for rain soon. Oscar and Tamy have planted 4 new churches this year, and they make their way around to each of them, to talk and encourage and give classes and hold services as often as they can. The people here are very warm and dedicated to the family. The houses are simple and small with few amenities, but full of life. It is not unusual to see pigs and dogs and chickens and cats and kids, the people kind, all running around the house and “yard”, chasing and pecking and snorting at each other, like a typical family. I was talking with a family about their church and, unbeknownst to me a little parakeet came and decided my boots had nutritional value, and was intent on procuring something to eat from them. I would have liked to have given it to her, but I need it for now. When I leave, maybe I will see if Oscar can give one of their boys my boots so the little bird will have something to eat.

It is time for breakfast and work now, so I will put on my happy face, if I can find it, and go. I really do like it here, and maybe today I can do something that will really cheer me up, like an equine castration. Yes that would be nice.

Blessings from Trinidad
Dr Mike