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Thursday, November 24, 2011

¡No más mantequilla de maní!

I was told over and over again by countless people that during the course of my mission I will discover the true me. I will learn things about myself that I never took the time to notice before. I will learn that I do not need as many things as I thought I did to survive. I will learn to live simply. I will be appreciative of so much more. I will gain new talents. I will learn my weaknesses. New strengths will be uncovered. Little did I know that I´d discover an allergy right away.

Constantly I´m told by the people we visit that I should watch what I eat. Many believe that Americans have weak stomachs. They are amazed when I tell them that I love rice and beans. I especially enjoy the pupusas too! Pupusas are the typical food of El Salvador. It is a tortilla with cheese, beans, vegetables, or meat inside that is cooked on a griddle and served warm with salsa. You must however eat it with your hands. It is a messy dish, but so delicious!

I´ve been monitoring what I eat and thought I was in the clear. Until, Monday morning (11/21/11) I awoke at 1:30 AM. My entire body was itchy, warm, and I felt like bugs were crawling all over me. I checked several times and there were no bugs on me or around me. I drank lots of water and when my two roomates saw my legs covered in hives they said we were going to the clinic. Luckily for me, the clinic is right down the road from our house.

As we prepared to go to the clinic, we ran through a list of all of the foods I had eaten within the last 24 hours and suddenly I realized... peanut butter! In the past, I remember having a slight reaction to peanut butter that usually only lasted several minutes. But, over the last week my community and I had eaten peanut butter at least once a day. The day before, I rememebered eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (happily teaching everyone the word PB&J!) and then having a cake with peanut butter in it.

The doctor didn´t understand when I tried to explain to her in the little Spanish I knew, that this was not just a problem with peanut butter here. The peanut butter I had a reaction to was in fact the very peanut butter I brought my community as a gift from the States, because I heard how much they enjoyed it and that it did not exist here. We had been feasting on the large jar of peanut butter for days. We all laughed at the irony. Then, the doctor gave me a shot, some medicine, and instructions of ¨¡Ño más mantequilla de maní! (No more peanut butter!)¨. After a complete day of rest, medicine, and plenty of water, I´m feeling much better. My sister in community, Fabiane (the one who accompanied me to the clinic) reminded me that next time I desire to eat peanut butter I should remember the shot. I think I´ll remember the feeling of non-stop itching the most. There will be no more peanut butter for me! I´m okay with this.

Once again, I´m extremely thankful for my brothers and sisters in community. They all checked on me constantly to make sure I was okay. They let me sleep for hours after my reaction and take it easy the days that followed. It is such a blessing to have such an understanding, loving, and flexible community.

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