The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Oaxaca Part 2: Thank God for Tetanus Shots

We were supposed to wake up pretty early and going for a run on the beach. The alarm went off at 5 or so. I heard it and looked out the window, but it was pretty dark. I think that Kent felt the same way too because he didn't wake up either.

We walked back to the mission base and ate some breakfast outside the guesthouse. The table was setup on the porch and the back drop was the waves crashing against the shore. After breakfast, we walked over to the Prayer House and prayed for the journey that we were taking that day and for the rest of the week. When we got done, we all started packing our bags and loading them up.

We took a Suburban, a small pickup, and a Pasahero. A Pasahero is basically a cattletruck that people ride on. We piled up into the Pasahero. I sat in the very back of the truck and tried to watch out the back and enjoy the scenery for most of the trip. The other 15 or so people want to play games, so we played guessing games, word games, and asked many questions of each other. I tried my best to focus on the land that was passing behind us, but I was sucked into the games.

There was a game that Esther and I played by ourselves since we were both sitting in the back. The game was called Topes. Topes are speed bumps that are scattered on the highways throughout Mexico that slow people down when they go through the small villages. So the game that Esther and I played was that everytime we slowed down to go over the topes, we would raise our hands like we were on a roller coaster and screaming "TOPES!" Yeah, it was kind of a dumb game, but it was a long ride.

We stopped and picked up another car at a gas station. In that town, the Pasahero driver stopped and had to pick up some tortillas. It took him a while to pick them up and we had our lunch, ham sandwiches with some very sour mayo. (I am not a mayo fan!)

We finally pulled of the highway and got onto the back roads. These roads were pretty rough. The roads are just sand, eroded by many rainfalls. They were very bumpy and rough. Still we played the games.

The games were getting on my nerves.

We stopped again for some drinks and a bathroom break. When the Pasahero driver got done with his drink, I saw him throw his bottle down on the ground. It made me sad. Kinda like that Indian in the old TV commercial that see someone litter and sheds a single tear.

When got back on the road, we realized that the ladder was still down on the Pasahero and I decided that I should try to pull it up while we were driving up a mountain. Which was poor judgment on my part. The people in the Suburban behind us kept laughing because they were sure, and to tell you the truth I was pretty sure too, that I was going to fall out of the truck. Adam said that the Mexicans were pretty quiet on the ride up until the part where I almost fell out of the Pasahero. He said they couldn't stop laughing.

Luckily, Jason helped me get the ladder up and not let me fall of the back of the truck.

(Here is an overly dramatized version of me trying to pull the stepladder back up and Jason trying not to let me fall into the road....

I slung open the gate and looked down at the stepladder hanging on my a thread. I looked back up at the road whizzing past us and said to myself, "Benson, this is a bad idea." I threw my hat down on the ground and began to reach for the ladder. Just as I felt it on my fingertips, the Pasahero hit a bump and I was almost thrown out of the back the truck. Luckily for me I held onto the back of the truck with my index and middle finger. Jason came to my rescue by sliding down the truck bed and grabbing my arm just as my fingers were about to give. My feet were dangling onto the ground and the truck began to speed up to almost 50 m.p.h. I thought I was a goner. I looked up at Jason and said, "I'm done for man, there is no way I am gonna make, just let me go." I could see that Jason was using every ounce of strength he could to just hold me. He looked me square in the eyes and said, "You go.......We go." Then the musical score of Indiana Jones began to play and Jason pulled me back up into the truck along with the stepladder. I dusted myself off as Jason wiped his brow. "That was close," I said. Jason laughed and said something witty. The Indiana Jones Theme slowly fades.)

The ride was pretty rough, so I decided to stand up. The view was much better and it was cooler. The sun was beating down on all us pretty hard. Unfortunately while I was standing up, my hat flew off. I had taken the string off my hat earlier to help tie down the tarp over the back. I thought I was screwed when it flew off, but luckily the car behind us stopped and picked it up.

The ride was pretty bumpy, but everyone else started to stand up as well. We hit one bump in which Kent fell down and then stepped on Esther. He didn't even know it either. Esther had this boot print on her chest, it would have been funny if it didn't look so painful.

With no more incidents, we finally arrived in El Moscoe. We unloaded all our supplies. The first thing we did was move some rocks so that Esther and her crew could get started on the mural. After we did that, a lot of the guys hiked up the mountain to start the fish pond.

The fish pond had to be 4x5 meters and around 70-80 cms. deep. We started to outline it a bit. The sun was getting low, so we tried to do as much as possible. We finally decided to go back down the mountain for dinner. On the way down the mountain, I began to fall and tried to catch myself by grabbing a barb wire fence. Which helped me stop myself from falling, but also cut my hand open.

The girls in the clinic helped me out and bandaged me up. When Laura asked me if I knew when the last time I had my Tetanus shot, I smiled and said, yeah, it was Friday, my shoulder still hurts. The poured iodine on it and bandaged me up.

We ate dinner that night, it was some sort of pasta soup with tortillas. It was pretty good. It was also at that time that word got out that we had forgotten the paints for the mural back at the base.


You know, I could tell that Esther was pretty upset, but she took it all in stride. She had to put the entire mural into God's hands. It's never very easy to be humbled, but Esther did well. I was proud of her. Esther, Cindy and Bethany set up their projector and tried to do the best they could with the starter paints that had be brought.

After another group session, I read a bit more of my book and tried to write. For some reason or another, all the inspiration that had seemed to fill me the past two days had left. So I joined in a conversation that Adam, Kent, and a missionary named Dan were having about racism. I told Kent about my recent blog about racism and about how I think there is a lot of stuff that we as a society and as a church need to do to make amends for our racist background. We thought of a few ways to help our church be more diverse. We were still talking when Laura came by and asked us to go look out in the sky because there was some sort of light out there and she couldn't figure it what it was.

We got up and walked out near the kitchen and saw three little lines of light in the air. Laura was beginning to think it was a UFO or maybe even a miracle. The Mexican girls were all chattering around. Kent and I both started to look up at it and we couldn't figure out what it was. Laura was about to go wake everyone up when I finally figured it out.

It was the light projecting over the house from the mural and hitting a couple of electrical lines.

Well, as I was about to head in and call it a night, Esther and the girls knocked on the door. They said they had heard someone cough somewhere in the night and they thought someone was out there watching them. So I put on sandals and went searching for the culprit, which happened to be a donkey in a field. The girls were a bit shook, so I stayed out there with them until they were done and had gone to bed.

I finally pulled my sleep bag out, put on my headphones, and went to sleep...

That was the second installment....Find out what happens that night and the next day in the next installment.


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