Monday, December 16, 2013


Yesterday, I'm talking to my friend Jim about how I regularly get sinus infections here because of allergies to all the dust and smoke in the air, but I'm taking a vitamin pack every month and two months have gone by with no sickness.  So to punish me for bragging, about an hour later over lunch I feel a familiar tickling in my throat and itching in my ears.  Sunday I woke up with a swollen, sore throat, didn't go in service, and have spent many glorious hours just rotting on my couch Internet surfing to "rest my body".  I came across a blog I like to follow about a sister in Guinea, West Africa who's also sick and talking about all the crazy remedies and superstitions about medicine in her country.  It made me laugh so hard because it's so similar to here.  My favorite quote?
"You have a stomachache? Oh then you have worms. Well, you probably have malaria and worms. Probably because you ate Mangos before the second rain of the rainy season..."
For instance, if you have a cold here, it's because you:
  • ate pineapple after dark
  • took a shower after dark
  • ironed or straightened your hair and then opened the refrigerator 
  • walked barefoot in your house
  • drank something cold when you were overheated
Here's some quotes Nicaraguan women have told me:
  • Shawn, this meal (of pork ribs) is fat free.  I made it last night, let it sit on the counter overnight, and scraped all the fat off the top just now!  *side note* Yes, I ate it anyway and miraculously, it didn't make me sick.  Hey!  They were ribs!
  • We don't serve drinks when we have soup at a meal because if you mix a cold drink with hot soup you''ll (searching for word)....(Grandma jumps in with the kicker) You'll die!
  • If you want to have children in the future, you shouldn't hold cats.  Their fur makes you sterile.
  • If you go too quickly from hot to cold (see ironing then open fridge above) it will cause face paralysis.  You can, however, go from cold to hot with no problem. 
  • Walking barefoot in your home causes leg arthritis because of the cold, cold tiles in your 90 degree, unair-conditioned home
  • Once I drank water a sister's house and when I was done, she just put the glass back on the shelf.  I reminded her it was dirty because I drank out of it.  Her response?  "No it's not; it was just water." 
Here's some other home remedies I've heard:
  • Your kid has chicken pox?  Bathe him in his own urine.  It'll heal him right up!
  • Feeling pain after giving birth?  Put cotton in your ears.  It's the cold air entering your body causing your pain.  Not, of course, the fact you just pushed a watermelon out of a lime.
  • Anything from a stomachache to an eye itch can be cured with antibiotics. You just buy them from the corner pharmacy with no rx and no dr's appointment


  1. Shawn,

    I'm laughing so hard I could die!!!

    The cat comment is hilarious...and maybe true...hence the term "Crazy Cat Lady"???

    Here is one I heard lately in Nepal
    "If you touch a stinging plant (not sure of the name) just put snot on it...yes snot will definitely make it stop stinging"

    1. That's awesome! I knew snot was good for something!

  2. Oh my goodness you guys are killing me!! The cat one really cracked me up. My husband grew up with cats in the house and we have had numerous ones since we have been married. And we have 4 children! Ha ha ha!

    1. Andrea and Tricia, I know! My 3 sisters and I and (very fertile) mother grew up with multiple cats in the house no problem. But I've learned it's better to not engage in those kinds of arguments based on culture.,,no one "wins" and everyone ends up angry.

    2. Yes, definitely a time to just smile and say thank you! Sorry you are sick - I hope you get better soon :)

  3. Hey Shawn, thanks for the shout out! :) There are some crazy remedies and ideas. How about: "I don't exercise because it makes my arms and legs get fat." - in other words he gets muscles. And "don't eat food while it's hot because all the enamel on your teeth will come off".

    Great blog! :)

    A Missionary's Life

    1. I love it! Thanks for following me, Linka. Your blog truly is one of my favorites :)

  4. We used to see brothers at the hall in MEX with 3 days of stubble. They couldn't shave because " they had a sore throat and shaving would make it a cold" :-)

    1. Jonathan, I haven't heard that one before. That's a good one.