Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A la orden

In my journey to learn Spanish I accumulated some "favorite" words and phrases.  Entonces (then) was my first, sin embargo (however) was another.   My new favorite phrase is "a la orden" which means "at your service."  I first heard it in Copan at the B&B where Leamarie and I stayed.  The lady who served our breakfast would say, as she brought each part, "A la orden!" in a voice that must have come from one of Disney's good fairies.  It was so soft, sweet and melodious.  Almost like she was crooning it to us.  Lovely.

So, today a pretty young mother with an adorable 2 yr. old girl knocked on our gate.  She explained that the 2 yr. old's twin brother is in the hospital with a colostomy.  I think she said he also has hydrocephaly.  Anyway, the colostomy is infected and she asked if she could do any kind of work at the house to pay for the medication he needed.   We agreed she would come back on Friday (it will take me that long to think of something for her to do!) and I took her to our favorite Farmacia.  She explained to the Pharmacist that she needed to buy tiny colostomy bags and connection tubes for her baby.

How Things Work In Honduras #1:  
The baby is in the public Hospital Escuela - a teaching hospital.   The hospital does not have the medication or equipment that patients need!  The, by definition, poor families of the patients must scrape together the money, including transportation, to purchase the needed meds or equipment.  If they are unsuccessful, the patient is out of luck.

So the doctors in the hospital had told the young mother that she needed to buy the replacement colostomy bags.  We learn at the Farmacia that they don't stock tiny colostomy bags but the Pharmacist told us where we could find them.  He speaks some English and I speak no colostomy related Spanish!  Anyway, I asked him how to get to the place he recommended.  Remember, there are almost no street signs or street names in Honduras.  He paused and said, "Wait a moment."

How Things Work In Honduras #2:
About 2 minutes later, the Pharmacist's wife bustles out of the Farmacia and jumps in the car! She is going to go with us to find the colostomy bags!  She gives me excellent directions and about 20 minutes later we are in a medical complex.  She runs into the first medical supply house to ask about the bags.  No luck.  She runs across the street to another one.  After quite a long time she comes out.  They don't have them but she has made numerous phone calls and has arranged for the bags to be delivered to their Farmacia tomorrow.  We head back to the Farmacia.  Meanwhile she has called her daughter who speaks great English so she can translate all the information via phone, to ensure I understood everything.   Without her help, and her husband is just as helpful,  we would not have been able to figure out how and where to find the colostomy bags.  So, as she jumped out of the car I thanked her.  She smiled and replied, "A la orden!"