One of the first things you notice in Nicaragua is the light, as in sunlight, as in there is less of it. Because we are nearer to the equator there is almost equal day and night, so sunrise is close to 6 am, and sunset 6 pm. That is almost 4 hours less than at home this time of year. So we go to bed earlier because it feels later, sort of like New England in the winter, except 70 degrees warmer. Plus we are tired from long days of work, but in reality it is less than a normal day at the Gardner Animal Care Center, but don’t tell anyone because then they will not feel sorry for me and will count this as vacation and not continuing education, which I have already explained.

We went into a small village called Los Madera today, and it was a very busy day. We treated 120 dogs, 9 cats, 5 rabbits, 4 pigs, and 2 deer. Yes that is right, 2 deer. And I helped…really. They were 2 small fawns the lady bought to be dewormed because she was going to raise them for their milk. Now that is a new one on me, as most deer are used for their meat, but we dewormed them and let them go. That was the closest I have been to a deer in years. I know Eric would not have let them go, but they were too small even for him. Maybe next year if I come back and the lady brings them back for more deworming, I will do a physical exam and pronounce them unfit to be kept because of a serious zoonotic disease, and they must relinquish them to me for further testing, including a necropsy. I will take care of the diagnostic tests at no charge to the owner, because I am such a kind person. And afterward, when I find everything is normal, I might as well not waste anything, being a frugal Yankee. I might even feel a little guilty, but it is for science after all.

We had lots of kids crowd around us, especially interested in the surgeries, and enjoying watching the dogs wake up, all groggy and drunk looking, with their tongues hanging out and a blank stare on their faces, like me trying to speak Spanish. And when we castrate a pig, well that’s the best of all because they squeal so loud it is like a dinner bell siren for all the dogs to come looking for a little appetizer. And there were a lot of roosters running around, but they were too chicken to come close. We did have chicken for lunch, and that made me feel better thank you.

For dinner we had a traditional Nicaraguan meal with yuca, cole slaw like salad, spicy onions, and pork rinds. Now I have not had that before, and I must confess this was the first meat thing I did not like. But this pork was actually pig skin deep fried and very crispy, and hard enough to almost hurt your teeth. I do not like it Sam I am, not in a hut, not in a car, not in a box, just let me be. Now I know why they make footballs out of pig skins, because they are not fit for eating.

After dinner we had a very good prayer and devotions and singing time. Now I am not a very good singer, but I was sitting between 2 ladies, Bouno and Hannah, who were very good, so it made me sound better. We have a very close group and I really like spending time with them. I will miss them when we leave.

Tomorrow we have our last day of work, and we will be staying here at Oscar and Tamy’s, and all the people will come to us. It should be very busy, so I must go and rest so I can continue to work so hard on this continuing education mission survival trip that does not count as vacation.

Blessings from Los Maderas
Dr Mike