Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008: Driving Adventure

Today had a little adventure in it. This morning was a productive. I helped Zena out on her computer. The boys and I helped with some organization in one of the medical supply storage areas (bodega). The adventure came in the afternoon and evening.

We have been using the McKenney's big, old green truck and somehow it quickly got emptied of gas unknown to us when we thought it was just on 1/2 a tank. Some other people did take it for a longer drive and we suspect issues with the gas gage. Anyway, there was no longer enough gas to drive to the nearest gas station in Jutiapa. We tried to get one of the missionaries to help us out yesterday but I don't think it was enough of a priority. So today, I took things into my own hands and found out I could by a couple gallons of gas nearby to make it to Jutiapa to fill up.

This began the adventure. I took the boys and Rosemary, a bilingual 16 year old Honduran with me. She became my interpreter. We prayed for God to help us make it on the empty tank to the next town to buy 2 gallons and we made it thankfully. The gas came in big vegetable oil jugs and it was difficult getting it into the tank with the funnel because the wind blew the gas around.

Then began the long, bumpy journey to Jutiapa. I felt like I was driving a bus as I let people get in the back for a free ride. I dropped people off and more people got on. We made it to Jutiapa and unloaded the people and filled gas. We had a little translation problem with how much gas we wanted but it all worked out (1800 Lempiras of gas later). We also got some much-longed-for ice cream! Mmmmm, it was so good! We also stopped in town to get a few more fruits and vegetables. It was a long, bumpy journey back with cranky, sleepy kids but overall uneventful for Honduras. The adventure tonight started with a machete stab wound to a man's heart. They use machetes here as the most common tool and it seems every male has one at the age of 3 or 4, scary. He was rushed by ambulance to La Ceiba but in the meantime the trauma took our dinner guests away, John and Penny Alden, and Bryan too. So, I kept cooking and we all ate eventually. Bryan brought Dr. Renae back to eat with us. John and Penny eventually got some cold leftovers. The Honduran chicken and rice (arroz con pollo) I made sure was tasty and was enjoyed by all.

Bryan made the night more eventful by covering the ER tonight after dinner for Renae and seeing 2 patients all by himself, without an interpreter. Pretty impressive. I put 2 very tired, cranky and dirty boys to bed by myself.

Driving observations:
-I almost hit a chicken crossing the road and wondered if someone would come after me with a machete.
-If you hit a person with your vehicle, you have to flee the country because you will go to jail for life.
-Narrow, gravel roads and sometimes 1 lane...scary.
-People drive on the wrong side of curvy roads to avoid potholes--very dangerous around corners.

Update on machete man: he passed away last night and didn't get surgery. He was only 22 and it already buried nearby. They have to have the funeral and bury the dead body with 24 hours because there is no embalming. The community here is so affected by the hospital here that it feels similar to Rochester, MN and the Mayo Clinic environment. When there is something big happening at the hospital, everyone gets involved.

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