Not sure how I feel about it being June already. On the one hand, I suppose it isn’t a bad thing that the time has gone by, I have some Spanish under my belt and I’ve gotten into my groove here in Antigua. On the other hand, I feel like I don’t speak Spanish as well as I should by now (reading and writing are going okay, my speaking is shite - I don't even know how to swear in Spanish!); I don’t have a meaty project to work on, I’m just helping out here and there where I can, and I don’t know how many more weeks of Spanish, and (somewhat unpleasant) home-stay I can take. I will assess in the next few weeks whether I return at the end of June or the end of July, as originally planned.
One reason why I’m feeling so crappy is my diet here. I resemble a big puffy loaf of ultra-processed white bread, because that is what I have been putting inside me. No protein, no healthy fats….just carbs carbs carbs because I can’t look at frijoles for a long long time after this trip. Will have to reign in my gluttony because it has caught up with me and it makes me feel awful.
I would like to profile Eferin, who has kindly given me his permission to write about how he came to have an SCI. Eferin is an extremely intelligent, well-spoken, well-built young man. When I first saw him I thought he was Asian, for sure. He claims not to be but it is such a mescla here that there is a large chance he has Asian blood in his mix. I love how there are so many different shades of brown here and all those different shades of people interact and mingle harmoniously. I feel very comfortable in this kind of racial environment. Anyway, back to the subject at hand…
Eferin was living in Washington DC back in 2002, working in construction. It was December and he and his friend were driving along. Eferin was drinking from a coke bottle, which he did not properly close. As a result it spilled in the car. Eferin unbuckled his seat-belt so he could clean up the mess. As he bent down, his friend drove over some black-ice. Eferin was flung out of the car and was paralyzed from T6 down. His friend was not injured. Eferin’s paralysis was complete for a long time, until one day, he found that he could move his right foot a little. The doctors initially did not believe him, but he proved them wrong and eventually regained some function in his right leg. He always uses a wheelchair though because it allows him to move around much more quickly than he could without it. Like so many SCI stories, his story struck me because of the split-second decision that was made, that coincided with a confluence of circumstances. Like my accident.
Last night was a bit difficult. I was feeling like shit, physically and mentally and started to think about how different my experience would be if I had a fully functioning human body. I thought of the volcanoes I would have hiked to the top of, the marimba music I would dance to, the morning jogs I would have gone on to enjoy the cool, crisp Antigua morning air. And then I quietly cried. On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that I would be in Guatemala right now if events had not unfolded as they did. I'm not one to find silver-linings in things though.