Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Surprise! Another entry! So soon? My blog-writing history doesn’t support the evidence your eyes present you with. But it’s true nonetheless.
Today was an especially enjoyable day. John accompanied us to the hospital this morning and stuck around until about 10 while we reassembled and tested our incubator. He speaks so much more Spanish than Kate and I that everyone was immediately impressed with him. He must have been such a breath of fresh air.
Simon came in with a broken rotating saw of some type today, and an urgent request for it to be fixed (that is unusual). We opened it up and it was covered in some type of white dust powder that proved nearly impossible to clean out, and an even larger DC motor, brushed this time. Except, as we discovered, there were no brushes (en español: carbones). Simon ran off to the store to buy some, and came back with the only two varieties available, and neither of them fit the slots. His idea was to grind one of them until it was the right shape and size, but we were entirely at a loss. It was only thanks to Ron that we even knew what brushes were, but only talking about them can’t really prepare you for your first repair task. We consulted the internet, but no one seems to have given much thought to the problem of what to do when you have the wrong type of brushes. We don’t really have much of a choice, though, so when we return on Thursday, I suppose we’ll give it a shot.
Things were so busy today we didn’t get a chance to get our needs assessment interview! That’ll have to be Thursday, as well. And Marvin mentioned something about a visit to quirófano to look at a faulty anesthesia machine, as well as a tour. Our last few days are going to be packed. We’ll have to work hard to get everything done.
We have solidified plans to make banana pudding for our boys in maintenance and for the family. We can’t find vanilla wafers, of course, but we’re betting that some variety of local crackers will suffice, especially if we crumble them up really well. There is an abundance of bananas and vanilla pudding down here, so it should be easy enough to assemble. We scoped out the ingredients we’d need at the store today, but we realized we didn’t know the Spanish name for the type of cream we need; more research is needed.
And Julia and Maria were very open to us using their kitchen facilities. They were also completely candid that they really had no idea how to make Tres Leches cake; they just buy it when they need it. “Whatever you want to cook, you go cook it.” That’s what they said. That’s the second best answer we could have wished for, the first being wanting to cook with us.
Tonight we decided to go to the evening daily mass at the catholic church down the street from the house. It was a short twenty minutes, all in Spanish, a lot of singing, a lot of back and forth between the speaker and small audience, none of which I recognized at all, except the Lord’s Prayer, and many references to la madre de díos, la virgin, y el espíritu santo. Also lots of transitions between sitting, standing, and kneeling. And a big to do about some goblet. Kate said it was basically the exact same service as hers back home, just truncated and all in Spanish. Interesante.
Julia has a devious plan. She feeds us nothing but carbs (and not very much at all) to force us to go out into town during the festivities to buy food to keep us from dying, but in the process we are out and about and experiencing the culture of the city. Pure evil. Tonight we watched a horde of shirtless teenage boys attempt to climb a greased telephone pole, the designated activity of the night. The idea was to create a human pyramid of tree-huggers and have smaller boys crawl up and over the others to clutch at the pole and rub the grease off with a cloth. After walking around a bit, we came to talk to a 15-year-old local student (also named Cristian) for almost an hour and a half. He even ditched his friends to talk to us! I was happy he found us so interesting, and impressed with Kate’s and my Spanish conversation skills that we were able to keep talking (on and off) for that length of time while we watched the performers in the amphitheater.
Well, we didn’t get anything done on the presentation tonight. That’s what tomorrow is for. We actually have to finish it tomorrow, though. Crunch time! And 11:00 is time to sleep, or at least my heavy eyelids tell me this. Caroline’s exhausted brain signing off. Hasta luego…