Nauseated In Nicaraqua
Someone recently wrote a poo story about his stay Peru. I thought it was going to be about how the local food or water caused problems down under, and this reminded me of my stay in Nicaragua.
I went to Nicaragua in January of 2010 on a Mission Trip with 18 other people; we visited an orphanage for abandoned and disabled children called Hogar Belen, or Bethlehem Home. The trip was great. Our group contributed manual labor to erect a new building so that the orphanage could take in more children. The orphanage was very hospitable. The employees provided all of our meals, and we stayed in a house set aside entirely for visiting missionaries. We were also able to take time to play with the children and see the country.
I mentioned the people at the missionary cooked all of our meals – they also prepared a water jug for us every day. To cook our meals and prepare our water they had to boil the water for some time, along with all of the cooking utensils. Similar to the water in Mexico, the water in Nicaragua will make a newcomer very sick; however, people who've been living in these countries have adapted to the bacteria-laden water and can drink it with no problem. Some people really enjoyed the meals, but I found them a little plain and boring. I loved the fresh fruit every morning and was okay with peanut butter sandwiches for lunch; but the plain white rice, white tortillas, lettuce head and tomato slice salad, and mystery meat every night were not my favorites. I'm used to a high fiber, flavorful, healthy home-cooked diet; however, every night I ate my fill only because I was so tired and hungry after a long day of manual labor.
Surprisingly, my bowels stayed pretty regular while in Nicaragua. Loading up on the fresh fruit every morning kept my bowels pushing out a poop at least once per day. The problems arose toward the end of the week. We had finished our labor for the day. I was excited for the morrow, because I had been given time to go to the beach and do some shopping at a native store area. We all sat down to dinner together, covered in concrete and dirt and smelling to high heaven. The dinner consisted of the usual fare, and I ate my usual fill. I felt a little rumble in my stomach when we were leaving, but I disregarded it.
Every night we had a short 30-minute mass and communion service. After that, we would usually stay up late playing cards or board games. This particular night, I decided to stay up and play a cribbage tournament with Tim, who thinks he's a hot shit and that he's the best at everything. He had just taught me how to play cribbage the night before, so I didn't have very good chances of winning; somehow, though, after losing three games in a row I did end up winning one. By this time, my stomach had been flip-flopping and turning over for about an hour – cribbage is a pretty long game. After my victory, I decided I wanted to go to bed. (I also felt a poop coming on). Tim, however, did not want to leave the table with my having won the last game, and demanded that we start a new one. I convinced myself there were still a few minutes before my ass would explode (I was starting to realize I was in for a liquid shit), so I said alright. After playing for a few minutes, I noticed that Tim has started to turn white. He said he wasn't feeling too well and that we could finish the game tomorrow. I agreed and we went to our separate rooms to go to bed.
I sat on one of the two toilets that were available to the girls’ room, and a stream of hot liquid poop shot out of my ass. I thought, “Okay, this sucks, but it could be worse.” I wiped and threw the paper into the trash. We couldn't flush toilet paper in our building or we’d clog the plumbing, so we all used the trash. I then went to bed, thinking I was all set for the night. I was wrong.
About 20 minutes later, I heard another girl from the trip puke for about five minutes. Someone went over to comfort her, and then she went back to bed. Soon after I felt the urge to throw up and ran to the toilet. I puked for about five minutes. My dear friend Jenna came to check on me. I felt awful, but I figured I'd gotten whatever it was out of my system and went back to bed. Jenna offered to let me use the bottom bunk in case I had to go again, so we switched. Later, another girl got up and vomited. Another ten minutes later, I was up again for a stream of liquid shit, only to turn around and throw up again. After another four trips like this, I decided not to go back to bed and just stayed at the toilet. I then began alternating between throwing up and diarrhea non-stop.
During one of these puking fits, diarrhea uncontrollably shot out of my ass, staining the pajama shorts I was wearing. Of course Jenna was right outside the door, asking me what was wrong. I was so embarrassed, but I had to ask her to get me a new pair of shorts. After putting them on, I ran to the trash and threw my shitty shorts away, only to go back to the toilet and start puking and shitting at the same time. Where did I have to throw up, you ask? In the trash bin that contained a day’s worth of diarrhea toilet paper in it. The stench made me gag even worse. The girl who had puked earlier decided to stay at the toilet with another girl comforting her, and she was crying. I literally thought I was going to die. I was vomiting and shitting the same stuff at this point – a thick, purulent, opaque yellow bile. It was in my nose, throat, ass hole, and in between my ass cheeks. And it burned. I was in so much pain that I was afraid I would never see my family again.
It was after four a.m. before the other girl and I finally stopped throwing up and shitting. We all went back to bed for a brief two hours of sleep. I was shivering because I was cold, afraid, and because I had lost so much liquid. That morning, the priest we traveled with came in and tried to force me to drink Gatorade. He said other people had thrown up a few times during the night as well. I was happy to be alive, but pissed off that he was trying to get me to drink that crap. Just the smell made me want to puke. The thought of putting anything into my body made me dry heave. He told us all to get ready to go to the beach. I was afraid I was going to have issues during the day, so I begged to stay back with the other girl who was really sick. He said he wasn't leaving anyone behind, including us.
So, we all got ready to go o the beach. The lady in charge of the orphanage gave us antibiotics, anti-emetics and anti-diarrheals. She also ordered the cooks to make us limeade. I'd never had limeade before and I thought it would be really sour, but it was literally the best thing I'd ever tasted, cool and refreshing compared to the burning sensation I'd felt all night.
We arrived at the beach and I immediately used the disgusting bathroom there to take one final diarrhea shit. I then wasted my opportunity to swim in the Pacific ocean by sleeping on a hammock until we left, which was roughly six hours. The priest tried to get me to eat the dinner they had ordered. It looked like fried chicken, but I just couldn't stomach it. I wasn’t able to eat anything until the next morning. I soon recovered, though, and I enjoyed the last couple of days we were in Nicaragua. When I went home, I weighed myself and found that I had lost seven pounds from the ordeal.
We never did find out exactly where the illness came from, but at least three quarters of the group vomited or had diarrhea at least once. I was the only person who was sick all night. Surprisingly, after admitting that I had shit my pants, five other people came forward and admitted they did too! None of us will ever forget that.