I guess I shouldn’t have said how much I was looking forward to tomorrow, because it started much earlier than planned. In fact the day kind of started at night, as soon as we put out our cots to sleep under the stars, the guys outside, the girls inside the church. The girls had to deal with the bats, but at least they weren’t the vampire bat kind, just the fly around your cot looking for bugs kind, and none of them were injured. The real fun was outside, waiting for us to lay down and close our eyes and thank God for the wonderful day and the quiet peaceful countryside and the gentle people….do you remember when I told you about the dogs and cats and rooster in Catarina? Well they were 1st grade amateurs compared to the pros in Narangu. I thought bruins fans were loud, but they are bush league compared to these veterans. As soon as we layed down and the peepers were peeping and the crickets cricking and cows were lowing (whatever that means), the dogs were scheming. And they were ready, like they had been practicing for months. Now dogs can bark and growl and make noise, but there was something about a group of gringos sleeping where they had no business sleeping that really ticked them off. So they started barking, but not just a yip here and there, but a full out vocal cord straining non stop neighborhood piercing barking, and not just from 1dog, but he called in his whole team for decibel deafening support. It was a canine cacophony, a mad dog rap session, and it was aimed at us. Now I know you think I exaggerate sometimes, and I guess in my soiled past I may have embellished things a tad, but that was the old Michael, and I have been transformed, and this is the truth. It was so bad that even the locals had to come out, after like 2 hours, and shush their dogs, and it even took a while for them to obey. But finally, after like a million years (oops I did it again), they stopped and we fell asleep until dawn, when the roosters would start their morning wake up. Except it was still dark. And it wasn’t even close to dawn. In fact it literally was at 2:30am when no decent time telling rooster would ever start crowing. Well we must have ticked them off too because they took over where the dogs left off, except they climbed on the stone wall 15 feet away from our cots and like a bad dream they just wouldn’t go away. They would crow for a bit, then stop just long enough for you to relax, like 1 or 2 minutes, and then go off like an avian alarm clock again, over and over, with no snooze button to push. Throwing sticks and stones, making hissing sounds (that always works for cats), covering your head, counting sheep (they started crowing too), nothing worked. If I had a gun I would have shot it, if a grenade I would have lobbed it, a napalm flame thrower – I would have used it and eaten their charred flesh with a smile (as you can tell I had plenty of time to stew on this). When I don’t get much sleep I can get a bit cranky. Well shut the front door and get me out of this countryside. Daybreak came too soon. Time to wake up, I mean get up. Of course those scaredy cats scattered like the back biting tick eating vermin they are. But we did have chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (really did) so just the thought that it was one of their relatives made me feel better. I hope we sleep better tonight because we are sleeping outside again, but we will be in a different village, so maybe they won’t be so ornery and unreasonable. I will let you know. And I bet like your rubber necking at the accident scene you’ll be back just to find out if I had another miserable night, and you may just be hoping I do. Well the jokes on you because I will just wear my Bose noise canceling headset….oops I left it back in Catarina, bummer. I may have to borrow a machete, or a flame thrower…

Well the day did get better after breakfast, and chicken, and we left for another village. The dirt road we had to take had been washed out so there were huge ditches and large rocks and it was rough, but we were all sleep deprived and in no mood to be pushed around, so we made it thru, thanks to the fearless driving of Oscar and Tamy. We went to 2 different villages and did some more spays and large animal work including castrations, vaccinations, deworming, and some sick animal stuff. A busy but productive day, by the end we were hot, sweaty, and dirty. And they had no running water, or electricity. But they did have a river, and we all went down and had the best swim and cleanup we have ever had. It was wonderful, except for the little fish who thought the moles on my back were little fish food and started nipping at them. Well I already had enough of this bull-poop so I tried to whack them, but of course like the chicken roosters, they ran,I mean swam, away. But the next time I have fish for dinner, I will think of them.

Until tomorrow, blessings from the Nicaraguan countryside
Dr Mike