Peace Corps gives you lengthy advice to avoid amoebas, bacterial infections and other nonsense, including: boiling your water, washing your produce with bleach water, peeling or boiling vegetables, brushing your teeth with bottled water and avoiding street food. While I can adhere to most of these precautions, street food is something I haven’t been able to avoid. Three tacos for Q10 on your way home from a bar is hard to resist, and Q2 chuchitos when stuck in a cola are a godsend. Having indulged in just about every street food offered, I was beginning to think that I had worked up a resistance to these illnesses… Alas, this was not the case.
I discovered much to my chagrin this Wednesday, that I have a serious case of amoebas. After spending most of Monday and all of Tuesday in misery rushing from my bed to the toilet (I’ll spare you the gory details), I finally worked up the courage to risk the two and a half hour bus ride into Xela to get things checked out. I had delayed in the hope that things would improve on their own, and because they rarely find anything to treat in the tests anyway. However, since the next two weeks are packed full of activities that I have to attend: Earth Day, AIDS training, and a Fundamentos teacher training in Cabricán, I really didn’t have a choice. Now, on the road to recovery, I am chugging three liters of Gatorade a day and starting a month long treatment to rid me of these pesky critters.
While I will definitely be taking more precautions in the future, I doubt that this week’s pain is enough to make me give up the delicacies of street food. I can’t even prove I got them from street food in the first place. Even though I ate some over the weekend, it appears from the size of the infection, they were sitting latently in my stomach for quite a while before they decided to flare up this week.