In the Spring of 2001, I traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, as part of an SDSU faculty delegation to the UABJO (Universidad Autonoma Benito Juarez, Oaxaca). One afternoon, Pablo Lopez Hernandez, Dean of the School of Arquitecture at UABJO CU, invited me to visit the alternative sewage treatment plant at Etla, at the northern end of the city.

We arrived late that afternoon and found the plant closed. My companion noticed an opening through the back of the facility, and proceeded to gain entry. I followed dutifully, without realizing that a small garbage dump separated us from the treatment plant. We had to pass through it quickly, a distance of about 60 m, hoping for the best. Before reaching the end, I stepped on what must have been a wasp nest, because they came out of nowhere and proceeded to attack the intruder, that is, me!

The whole incident lasted about five seconds, and I defended myself the best I could, but one wasp managed to bite me on the back of the hand. The hand began to swell and hurt, and I realized I was in trouble. Once out of the place, I sought help from Pablo, who said: "Don't worry, my wife is a doctor... we will call her, and she will prescribe something."

Within two minutes, he pulled out his cell phone, called his wife, got the prescription, and we were en route to the closest pharmacy, which we found in the next corner. I may add that in Mexico, there seems to be a pharmacy on every corner. Much sooner than I had expected, I was on my way to full recovery from the bite of the Etla Wasp.



The rehabilitated Atoyac river, in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The rehabilitated Atoyac river, in Oaxaca, Mexico.