Thursday, July 7, 2011

Can I get diarrhea from this?

So, funny anecdote. This summer I've been super busy cause I started teaching summer classes. Basically, I go to work as usual in the mornings but on top of that I teach 2-3 hours a day four times a week. I would teach more than that, but I also make the curriculum, write out all the lesson plans, and have to work to translate them into khmer. This takes about every ounce of free time I have, not to mention trying to juggle 2 and soon maybe 3 conferences we are currently planning. But anyway, one of my classes is English usage and one is a girls' empowerment class/ health class. This past week a few students were missing because grade 9 was doing testing. So I decided I'd just do some typical health lessons, nothing too fancy. One of the most common illnesses in Camobodia is diarrhea. A lot of babies actually dies from it because they become dehydrated and also sometimes there's a cholera outbreak. So we were doing the lesson, having a lot of fun talking about eating poop. For those of you that don't know, most cases of diarrhea here are from eating poop or something call the oral-fecal cycle. Someone has diarrhea and doesn't wash they're hands or they poop and flys touch it. Here, the cows poop everywhere too so it's impossible to not have poop in your food from flys and other bugs. Usually it doesnt make a difference, especially if you have a fully developed immune system and a full complement of good bacteria in your intestines combating bad bacteria. However, sometimes its not enough or you're a tiny baby with a tiny immune system. Then you get diarrhea and let me tell you folks, it's not fun to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes. Yes, that happens... a lot. anyway, this lesson was going as usual until one student raises her hand and asks me a question I had never imagined hearing. The question was, " What if a dog eats poop and then I want to eat the dog. Will I get diarrhea because the dog ate poop?" My answer: "No, you should be fine as long as you cook the dog well. If we cook our food well it will kill all the bad bacteria." Typical day in Cambodia or any other dog eating country. Trust me, after you meet the dogs here you'll want to eat them too.