Yuscaran on Tuesday
Yuscaran is an old city with cobbled narrow streets up and down hills. Our bus driver, Hector, makes his way through this maze of roads and never breaks a sweat although the streets are so narrow we could put our hands out the windows and touch the walls on each side.
The dentists are busy in the building across the street and we set up clinic in a public building. The light is not good; there is very little air circulating, and children race up and down playing soccer with a plastic bottle. It is very noisy and I struggle to hear blood pressures.
Today’s patients seem better fed, indeed some of them need to lose weight. They seem cleaner and many of the ladies are wearing makeup. I was surprised to learn that the perfect place to keep one’s lipstick is snuggled in one’s brassiere next to the roll of lempira. My grandmother always kept a handkerchief tucked under her strap—it wouldn’t do for a lady to be reaching anywhere but close to her collar.
Most of the patients are wearing American style clothing but there are a few older ladies with the traditional blouse and skirt with fancy apron. The aprons are covered with ruffles and lace, and occasionally some embroidery. These ladies have no teeth and appear worn with stubby hands and swollen knees. Their entire day is spent walking up and down those hills carrying firewood or water or food.
Usually I see family groups with several children or one child and the mother. Just before lunch I see a ten year old girl with her six year old brother and her mother. The siblings jostle one another for what looks to be the best place at my desk and the mother settles their dispute with a firm word and look. The little girl is wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Take my brother please”. I ask her if she knows what it means, she giggles and says no. I translate it for her—and then her mother laughs and I laugh too. We agree, children are children.
Our afternoon is not busy and so we pack up. Pharmacy must finish the prescriptions we wrote and so I am free to wander around a bit. Bill and Clint watch an impromptu soccer match in the courtyard—played with a small plastic ball and the players wearing dress shoes—probably their only pair. The last patient gets her medications and we load the bus and head to Ojo de Agua to pick up the other team. Pharmacy there was not finished and our pharmacy team members lend a hand. My offer to assist was declined and so I went in search of a flame tree. I am not totally pleased with my photos as if the light is perfect, the trees have the appearance of being literally on fire. But I am not here solely to take photos.
The mango trees are laden with fruit in various stages of ripeness. There was a beautiful sunset over the mountains. I try to ask the children what the Spanish word for sunset is in Spanish but it was beyond my limited Spanish. I ask the bilinguals what the word is—and they do not know either. I cheat and look it up in my Franklin dictionary—it is puesta del sol—I think the root is from repuesta which would be repose or perhaps nap.
We are back to the compound early for a truly wonderful dinner of baked chicken and fresh vegetables.