Monday, May 25, 2015

Heat Stroke

There is one sound above all others that sends waves of dread coursing through the body of a Peace Corps Colombia volunteer. No, it's not the next door neighbor's rooster that confuses 2 am with sunrise. It's surprisingly not the sound of Colombian school children all trying to grab your attention at the same time by yelling over one another in an attempt to be the loudest. It's actually the sound one's fan makes as it slowly loses power. That slow whirl signaling a lack of electricity and will to continue. The unfortunate sound that your one lifeline in combating the constant heat has failed you.

The heat here in Colombia is a beast of it's own. It's persistent. It never goes away. It hits you like a ton of bricks when you wake up in the morning. There's no escaping it. Growing up in the Midwest, our summers are hot and humid. I'm used to being miserable from June to August. However, when the misery is just too much to handle, I normally escape inside the comforts of my house/apartment, where air conditioning greets me with a refreshing handshake just like an old friend. Here in the small pueblos of coastal Colombia, that escape is not possible. There is no heaven sent location that constantly has Arctic level temperatures blowing. One just has to park themselves in front of the nearest fan and pray for 6 pm (when the sun goes down and the heat relents some). That is unless it is Thursday...

Thursday's have quickly become my least favorite day here. It has absolutely nothing to do with my school schedule or people that I come into contact with on this day. No, it's my least favorite because the power ALWAYS goes out. Without fail. Just like clockwork. You can count on being without the assistance of electricity from 8 am until 5 pm. Every. Single. Thursday. Classrooms become unbearable. Life ceases to be active. Even the occasional breezes that float through town tend to take this day off as well. The sweat just pours and the tempers soar.

As my service nears the 9 month mark (in two days actually), I am trying to find ways to beat the heat. Multiple showers a day have been utilized. However, as soon as you step out of the shower, you are immediately disgusting again, so it´s a bit of a frugal attempt at staying cool. The hammocks in our back cabana have become my favorite hideout spot. I´m able to create a small resemblence of a breeze by swinging myself through sporadic leg kicks. However, this quickly becomes tiring and doesn´t help curtail the sweat. Looks like it´s back to square one.

The heat and and the Colombian coast are a packaged deal. Finding innovative ways to survive and thrive has become my new secondary project...