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July 11, 2000 (Phone)
Don't Drink the Water

Mark had felt bad before leaving Janakpur about a week ago.  He even paid $22 to fly there instead of taking the several hour bus ride, because of how he was feeling. He was making the trip to Kathmandu to show the samples of the Center's Christmas products, move some inventory and deliver Peace Corps mugs.

Then, he got sick at Kathmandu.  He is still on medication and will see the nurse again on Wednesday.  If he has not lost any more weight, he can go back to Janakpur.  He had been down to 153 pounds but is now back up to 160.

He has been eating in the last few days (didn't feel like it prior to that) and enjoying things like ice cream and pizza.

The disease from which he is suffering, cyclospora, was likely contracted from tainted drinking water (which is quite common in Nepal). He says he is careful about drinking water there, but occasionally he will accept water if he is at someone's house.  Maybe someone didn't boil the water sufficiently, or perhaps a drop of water was left on a plate after it was washed.   He says most people there have a parasitic disease at one time or another.

Although he probably could move to another (healthier) location, he intends to stay in Janakpur. There are no other PCVs in Janakpur, but Vince from Holland and Sarah from England are VSOs, still in Janakpur.  Vince is leaving in November, when his term is up.

He is still hoping to teach at the all girls' school,  but Steve the program director wants him to teach at the school where Virginia would have been teaching.  It is a smaller school (with smaller classes) and is near his apartment, but Mark would still prefer the girls school.

He enjoys getting haircuts there -- the barber "spends forever" on a haircut, using only scissors.  If he gets a shave, he is shaved twice.  A barber will also do "chiropractic" type treatments as well, but after the first time, he now asks them not to crack his neck.  The haircut costs about 22 cents (15 rupees). He said that he is wearing his hair longer, parted in the middle, long on the sides -- a "studious" look.

He is saving his vacation days now, so that he will have them to use during the holidays in October.

He says Jill will be returning from the US soon.   When I asked if he would consider coming home for a visit, he said -- as before -- that if he came back into the U.S., he'd be too tempted to stay.

This is when Mark began to tell me that his term is considered to be complete anytime after June 7 (2001), and that he can leave anytime between June 7 and September 7!  (Until then, we had believed that his term would not be complete until September at the earliest.)  He is still hoping to do a lot of traveling after leaving the Peace Corps and before coming home.

He listed several movies that he had recently seen.  The "promotional version" of a movie is sent out about the same time as it opens here.  The bootleg copies show up almost immediately afterwards.

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