Sunday, December 13, 2009

You Give Me Fever

As Baby Girl succumbs to yet another illness – this time fever, green snot, and the runs – it’s interesting (and frustrating) to reflect on the way that viruses and sickness is perceived here.

Apparently, the concept of a virus that spreads from person to person through contact doesn’t exist to these people. Instead, one falls sick because of cambio de clima (weather change) or mal de ojo (sort of an imbalance of the humors, which can be caused intentionally or unintentionally by really negative or positive energy directed at a person; a.k.a. the evil eye. A reasonable description of the phenomenon can be found here).

What this means for us, in a practical sense, is that no one sees any reason to keep their sick kids home from daycare, because illness can’t be passed on. Instead they send them on in so that they can infect all the (temporarily) healthy children that are there. Every day that I drop BG off I cringe at the multitude of green snot faces that greet us at the door.

So it seems that BG gets a week of good health, followed by a week of not-so-good health. Mostly we’ve been lucky and the bad weeks are just the sniffles. Sometimes it’s worse. Being that she is La Gringita, everyone constantly wants to touch her. And if you say “don’t touch, she’s sick” (which I’ve started doing with increasing frequency and diminishing tact, to avoid them passing something on to her and actually making her sick) they stroke her and murmur “poor thing” while suggesting that she’s afflicted by one of the ailments. BUT YOU’RE STILL TOUCHING HER AND MAKING HER SICK!!!!

I just hope that all this sickness means that once we get back home she’ll have an immunity level somewhere in the stratosphere and stay relatively healthy even while those around her succumb to the seasonal ailments that go around every year. Here’s hoping.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious about the role of climate and culture it almost seems like those cultures that are blessed with warm or hot weather are 'Que Sera, Sera' and superstitious, while those of us who are freezing to death are riddled with guilt and logic.