Day…9?

It’s been over a week since I moved to Lor. Very little is happening, and I have been sleeping a lot. Lots of time to read and play guitar, among other things.

My 21st birthday was nice. I was able to meet up with some other volunteers in Sisian in the middle of the day. That night, it turned out, my sister’s fiance and his family were coming over for dinner to discuss wedding/marriage things. It was interesting to watch, and made for a fun night. I think I had a total of two drinks the whole day, which is tame by most 21st birthday standards. Maybe my 23rd birthday (I might be in America for that because it’s right around when I am scheduled to finish) will make up for it.

One of the more interesting things that has happened was getting sick earlier this week. It was an afternoon/evening of pretty severe vomiting, likely from something I had eaten for lunch. It put me out for a day or two while I recovered and slowly started eating again. What was perhaps most frustrating during the experience was the medical advice my family gave me, which is notoriously bad among Armenians, particularly in villages.

First, they are still under the impression that being cold makes you sick. I had the same experience at my other host family’s house when I wanted to wash my upper body with cold water (we didn’t have hot water at the moment). So they first attributed my vomiting to the shower I had taken the night before. The shower itself was hot, but I walked outside in my sandals (and pants and jacket) afterward in the cool evening weather. They also wanted to blame it on the hike I made to the top of a mountain (it wasn’t cold).

As the vomiting began, they wanted to give me medicine, probably from the kit I received from the Peace Corps, but I told them I need to wait until I was done vomiting and until only needed to sip water to avoid severe dehydration. I was then told I needed to eat some matsun (yogurt), and I said no. Tan, they say (matsun with water – very salty, not my style, especially when vomiting). I finally was able to have them talk to the Peace Corps medical officer on the phone who told them what I needed to do (what I had been doing, plus taking some pain relievers and pepto once I could hold it). When they mentioned that I might have been cold the day before, I heard the doctor say “vochinch,” which means literally “nothing,” but is more like “don’t worry” or “not a big deal” in this context. But they probably still think that’s what did it…

Because I was sick, I wasn’t able to go the Echmiazin, the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church, on a school field trip, but I’m sure I will later.

Reading has been my main activity this week, but I am slightly worried that if I keep up this pace that I will finish my small collection much to early. I’m sure once school starts I’ll be busier, but it is still a worry… The other is that I won’t be able to bring all of them home with me. I like keeping the books I read for reference, so I might end up shipping them back – if it’s not too expensive.

This week I finished Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States – fantastic. Some of the most interesting information was on the history of the American labor movement and the Vietnam War, the later of which Zinn had lots of firsthand experience. From my recently arrived package, I just started David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

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3 thoughts on “Day…9?

  1. I am glad you are feeling better! You know, there are still
    many people here who think the cold makes you sick!! It
    is just not an Armenian thing.
    Hopefully, we can keep the reading material coming. I
    am more than happy to accomodate you! Isn’t that what
    mothers are for?
    I am hopeful you will be integrating into the community
    a bit more soon.
    Happy hiking!

  2. Joel! It was leftover food that you ate which caused your vomiting (from surfing blogs of other volunteers like you it looks this vomiting has been experiencing by them also; hopefully, vomiting is a kind of cleansing of your stomach from bacteria contaminated food and is not deadly situation. Leftover food get spoiled fast specially in summer heat there. Just ask your landlady TO NOT SERVE YOU ANYMORE LEFTOVER FOOD, Period.
    Tell her anything -like you have a delicate stomach and can not tolerate leftover food. If they persist then ask your boss for transfer. If you get serious food poisoning then you have to be rushed to hospital where with a water hose inserted in your mouth they flush out everything all the way from your stomach and your bowels and out of your anus. Best Wishes!

  3. When cold hits your abdomen you get diarrhea, not vomiting. Vomiting is from eating spoiled food. Why you will get vomiting from eating the same food and they will not? All those years they developed immunity to spoiled food and the bacterias that causes vomiting while you are stranger. But from the way they are trying to remedy it like eating yogurt it points that they also have their stomach problems sometimes. The best thing for a stomach that went into upheavals to to ear brown rice, it should be brown. A diet of brown rice for few days will bring it to normal.

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