sábado, 1 de mayo de 2010

Street Love

Wrote this before hopping off to Tayrona and Cabo de la Vela, where I traveled all last week:

I walked back to the Candalaria watching the pink clouds swirl into the gray sky. What is this city? It is a constant mixture of beauty and ugliness. Earlier today, at the Parche, I met a street couple. This is the first pair of street people that I have seen completely in love. The girl was eighteen, tiny, and hyper active. All morning she sat writing love lyrics to Harrison, her 38 year-old partner. “Harry!” she would call him, “Ven aca! Tengo que mostrarte algo…” Then she would show him the lyrics, stare deeply at him and give him a big kiss. Harrison, a poet, told me of his travels to Israel and of his favorite writers, like the Argentine Julio Cortázar. He wrote a poem for the Parche before leaving today. It used metaphors to explain how he would always support his lover. He told me, “You see, there is a big difference in age between the two of us, but my girl is young and motivated and eager to learn. I am older so I can protect her and share my experiences with her. We keep each other going.” The girl kept coughing all morning and I asked Dr. T if I could give her a cough drop. She said I could, but that she probably had tuberculosis, so it probably wouldn’t do much.

I met a one legged man who had been in a motorbike accident. He spent two years in the hospital during which he developed gangrene and was amputated. Today he came in with some kind of polipo (polyp) growing between his toes on his last remaining leg. Other street people came in with gashes from recycling wounds. Recycling is actually one of the main causes of wounds/infections in street people. A T.V screen or broken bottles are just some examples of the objects that had shattered on them and caused severe infections.

I spoke with another woman (who I would like to interview) who kept going to the doctor for chest pain, but the medications they prescribed to her were NonPOS, and she didn’t have the money to pay for them. POS is the “Plan Obligatorio de Salud,” it qualifies treatments as refundable by the government. NonPOS means that this lady’s medications were not reimbursable by the state, or not considered ‘obligatory.’ She told me that she still suffered of chest pain and didn’t know what to do. I learned that if a doctor prescribes a medication that is categorized as NonPOS, but thinks that the patient really needs it and shouldn’t have to pay for it because of his/her economic status, the doctor can send in a request to the ‘junta medica,’ a review board, to override the NonPOS status. I wonder if the doctor considered doing this and if this lady knows that the doctor is obligated to do this if he think the treatment is really necessary…

To conclude the day, we did street outreach in the prostitution zone right by the Parche. Most of these prostitutes are quite hideous. Many are obese and look over 40 years-old. They stand behind these cage-like windows, tapping their acrylic nails on the walls. Their swollen breasts ooze out of their tank tops. We handed out condoms and told them about the Parche, where they could receive free medical consults, hair cuts, condoms etc. Most of them seemed enthusiastic and happy to know there was a support center right near by them.

Next week I’m hoping to hand out lubricant and conduct a small teach-in about how it can increase their control during sexual encounters and decrease pain and irritation. Timothy told me that these teach-ins must be intimate. You have to let them feel the lubricant and rub it on their fingers as if their fingers were a penis. Wow! That sounds a bit intense, but apparently it makes the girls laugh and shows them that they can really stimulate a client to the point where he will spend a lot less time inside them and will thus diminish the pain/irritation/unpleasantness. We shall see how this will go…

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