Volancos for Him, Ameobas for Her

The rumblings in my stomach grow stronger. Things aren’t right, and I suspect they haven’t really been for awhile. 30 minutes and 20 quetzales later, I know they are not.

Carl’s daughter Nina is a nurse practitioner. She reads the results from the lab and tells me the bad news. She says these ameobas cause headaches. Have I been having any? Yes, on and off since January. They have now caused an infection she says. All the pieces fall into place. It all makes sense now. Nina sends me off with a bagful of medicine and instructions to rest.

Rest comes easy. The meds that kill the ameobas feel like they are killing everything else.

Tyndall climbs volcanoes. Kuxleqel one day, Santa María the next. I climb Zunil with him, Carl and Justin a day later. It feels good to leave the house. We drive through the dark, early morning hours to the trailhead, stumbling up the first kilometers just as the birds begin their morning songs. There’s big, old trees on Zunil, and at the top, one of the best views I have seen in a long time.




We all go to Chicabal Lake the next day, along with two young women in Carl’s education program. Vicky is learning English and it is her dream to move to the United States. Margarita is studying to be a nurse.


From San Cristobal we ride to Lago Atitlan, burning our brakes on the descent. Tourists kayak beside women washing clothes.


In San Pedro, there’s a healthfood store, like The Natural Pantry but a quarter the size and without the wall of chocolate. I guzzle kombucha, trying to replenish my intestinal flora.

Instead of burning brakes, we burn muscle, climbing up and out of Lago Atitlan, eating fried chicken and helados on the side of the road. We can’t dilly dally too much. We need to be in Guatemala City by Saturday morning.


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