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


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Oaxaca Part 3: A Margarita for 6

I must admit that I am a pretty sound sleeper, once I am out, I am out. But sometime during the night, Adam got pretty sick. Evidently no one woke up to help him out except one of the translators. Florentino must have tried to wake a few people up, but pretty much just scared them. So he went to go see if Adam was all right and grabbed his forehead and prayed for him. I never heard any of this from my deep slumber.

We started off the morning with some more team time, a few more people told their stories. After our team time, we joined a small worship service in the clinic. Most of us really couldn't understand everything that was being said or sung, but we got the general idea. It was pretty powerful too, the Holy Spirit was definitely in the room and it lead a few of the members of the team to tears.

After the worship service, we ate some breakfast. If you are reading this blog to get a good idea of the food aspect in Oaxaca, you will be disappointed. I really didn't eat that much. And what I did eat, I never asked about any ingredients or any names. I guess I just figured it would be better that way.

After breakfast, the construction team(Kent, Matt S. and myself) and the mural team (Esther, Cindy and Bethany) started to make it's way back up the hill, or as I like to refer to it as it's proper term: mountain.

The thing about digging a big hole in the ground is that the details are pretty boring. You get a shovel and you dig, that's it. No big science to it. So, like information on food, you will be slightly disappointed in the details of digging the fish pond.

However, while working on the hole I did try to ask everyone different questions to find out a little bit about each person. So here are a few fun little facts and stories that I learned (and can still remember a week later) while digging a hole.

Cindy once accidentally crapped in her brother's car. Evidently it was so bad that her brother had to sell the car.

Esther has never really been to a big time, legit concert, but she loves Ben Folds.

Bethany's entire family lives on the same land back in Heber Springs.

Matt S.'s first car was an old Mustang and didn't pee for the entire day.

Kent also crapped in a car once too. Evidently it was his father's, but he didn't have to sell it like Cindy's brother did.

So now that we were so close, we felt like we really bonded.

We were still digging when a small woman came walking down the mountain. She said that her name was Margarita. I believe she was only 26 years old. She said that she already had 8 kids, 4 boys and 4 girls. She invited us up for lunch. She said that she would come back down and get us when it was time to eat.

So we went back to work. We noticed a little girl run down the mountain and a few minutes later she came back up. She was carrying a plastic sack full of soft drinks. Someone asked if we thought the soft drinks were for us. I said that I really didn't think so, because I couldn't imagine them spending money like that on us.

Around 1 or so, Margarita came down and said that our lunch was ready. We all walked up the mountain to her small little house. She invited us into her kitchen.

The kitchen was maybe 6 foot tall at the most. It was made of wood planks. It had a dirt floor and there were chickens running around everywhere. She left 6 bowls of meat out for us and a bunch of tortillas. Then she brought in a bucket full of cool water with a bunch of soft drinks submerged in them. She brought in a bunch of tiny, little chairs for us all to sit in and then closed the door behind her.

We were in awe of the spread that she laid out for us. We tried to eat a bit of the meat that was in the bowl, but the meat was very rubbery and hard. I sucked on it for a while and the flavor was really good, but I just couldn't bite into this meat. Most of the others couldn't either. I think Esther was the only one that made it through the entire bowl. Matt S. ate a bit of his and fed the rest to a dog. Kent ate almost half of his as well, and gave a bit to the dog. I felt really bad for not being able to eat the meat. I am sure it was some of the best food that they had, so I wrapped mine in tortilla and put it in my front pocket. Bethany and Cindy gave me some of theirs as well to hide in my pocket. There was no way that I was going to let Margarita know that I didn't appreciate the meal that she put out before us. I didn't want to offend her. So I improvised the best I could.

When she came back in to check on us, there were a few scraps left in the bowls and most all the tortillas were gone. I asked her if she had of the tortilla warmers that I could buy. She went into her little house and brought back one. I told her that I would give her a hundred pesos for it and she gladly accepted it. Her mother, Sophia, wanted to sell something to us as well. Sofia could quite possibly be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest full grown woman ever. She was so tiny that she was wearing a small child's Rugrats shirt. She brought out a nice tortilla warmer out and wanted 150 pesos for it. No one else had any money and all I had was 120 pesos. I let Bethany borrow it and Sofia agreed to take 120 pesos. When Bethany had the money over to Sofia, she had the biggest grin on her little face. She was so happy and so thankful for those 120 pesos.

It makes you think how thankful we should be for what we have. I mean, 120 pesos is 12 dollars American. When was the last time you say someone light up when given 12 bucks?

Eating lunch had given each and every one of us a new perspective on a lot of things. I have heard the term "dirt poor" many times, but seeing what Margarita and her family lived in made me understand that term. After lunch, I think we all felt very blessed and very humbled.

It was time to get back to work, the mural team went back down the mountain to do some more work on the mural. Aaron walked back up the hill and took Kent up the mountain to try and find a water source. So Matt S. and I kept on digging our hole. We talked a lot about a lot of different things. Matt S. told me about how much he enjoyed the worship service that morning and how he got goosebumps just thinking about it. We talked a lot about our families and of course about women. We talked about what makes a woman beautiful and what we each look for in a woman. We also talked about how hot it was and how the next day we definitely needed to get an earlier start on the digging.

Aaron and Kent came back down the mountain having found a water source. It was almost 4 o'clock so we all made our way down the mountain because we were due a town over for a church service that night. At the base, they wanted to feed us again. Once again I didn't eat, but I did use that time to give myself a quick shower using a few wet wipes and lots of deodorant.

We loaded up in the little pickup and headed over to where they were going to have the clinic. The roads were pretty bad, and at one point, we stopped and filled some holes in. We finally made it to the little church where they were having the clinic.

Amy was giving haircuts outside, and she was covered in hair. Kristen (Missionary Dan's niece), Ryan and Polly were outside handing out medication. Inside Rick and Jill had been getting histories from the patients and all the doctors were seeing people. I walked over and watched Adam and Mark pulling someone's tooth. I had to turn my head a few times because I am a bit squeamish. Everyone that had been working in the clinic look pretty tired, but pretty happy too. When there were no more patients, most of the clinic team loaded up in the back of pickup and went back to the base clinic in El Moscoe.

After milling around for a while, the church service finally started. The worship was very similar to the worship that morning. I recognized a few of the songs. After the singing was through, all the children ran out for a children's service. Since I was sitting down and beginning to get sleepy (and I knew that if Kent was going to start speaking I was really gonna get tired!), I decided to go out and see what the children's service was like.

Bethany, Matt S., Jill and I all followed the translators and Laura to a little courtyard behind a small house. All the little girls sat in the front row and he boys sat in the back row. A bee started to attack Jill, so she went back to go see Kent speak. The translators were telling Bible stories to the little kids, but we couldn't understand any of it since it was in Mixteca. Eventually, we handed out little pictures for coloring and 3 crayons for each of the kids. We learned the word for "beautiful" in Mixteca and made sure to tell every kids that their picture was beautiful. After a few of them got done, Matt S. and I pitched a tennis ball back and forth to a couple of kids. Matt S. and I tried to think of as many tricks as we could, but there are only so many ways to throw a tennis ball.

During the children's service, Matt S. and I both comment on how it looked like it was going to rain. By the time the service was done, the wind had picked up and you could see the rain on the other mountains. We were waiting for the pickup to come back and get us, but Aaron was running late. We kept waiting and waiting, still no truck. The rain was coming. We locked up the gate to the little church and waited outside. Finally it began to rain and a few of us huddled in a small house to get out from the rain. Just as it started to rain, Aaron showed up in the pickup.

I don't know how many people were in the back of this little short bed pickup, but I would guess a dozen. Dr. Matt and I were sitting down in the very back with our backs against the tailgate. Everyone was tangled up with each other, and it basically looked like a game of Twister had broken out in the middle of an elevator. Dr. Matt and I both had to try and readjust ourselves so that our "juevos" would not be crushed or ankles be broken. The translators were just singing and praying.

And then the rain that had begun to fall stopped and there was a hole in the sky right above our truck. It was a miracle, because I was for sure that we were gonna be soaked and have a good chance of getting hit by lightning. You could look up and see the stars through this little hole in the sky, and on the horizon, we could all see the rain.

At one point of the trip, Dr. Matt was wondering how to say "Git r' done" in Spanish. I thought that was a bad idea. And for some reason, Dr. Matt, Kent, Jason and I just started to laugh. Dr. Matt and I were laughing at the fact that there were chairs digging into our spleen and crushing us slowly against the tailgate. So we asked Jason to be ready to pull the tailgate handle at anytime and that we would pop out like they did in Top Gun. We were laughing so hard that I think we kinda scared the translators. Also on that ride back Matt S. discovered that all the translators had a crush on him.

We finally made it back in one piece. Everyone back at the base clinic said that they were worried about us and had prayed for us. We told them about the hole in the sky that God had created for us. We had another team session and a few more people told their stories.

I decided to go to bed pretty quickly after team time. I was tired from the day. Just as I had laid down and put my headphones on I heard someone yell.

Mark was yelling, "There's a scorpion on me!!!"

Ryan and I got up looking for a scorpion, but all we found was a rather large beetle. So I went back to bed trying not to think about any scorpions that could be crawling on me at night.

That is part three...Find out what happens next in the next installment.


Blogger Drew Caperton said...

If you turned this series into a book/short story, I would buy it! In fact, I would encourage everyone in my whole church (6 people) to buy it! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all about the Mexico trip, laughing out loud many times. Telling stories has to be one of your greatest strengths because you are unequivocally the best storyteller I know.

Hey, I know you tried to call me today, but I'll try and hit you up tonight. No news on the job front, and on the church front, God is blessing indeed. I'll tell you about it tonight if we get a chance to talk.

8:18 PM  
Blogger shauna said...

so I've concluded either you made notes during the trip, or you've got one heck of a memory!!!!!!!!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Lafe said...

nope, no notes. just remembering the trip...

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Lynette Butler said...

Dear Lafe,
You don't know me, but I just wanted to say thanks for writing of your adventures in Oaxaca. Myself and a small group from our church are leaving for Roca Blanca Mission Base, in Oaxaca, July 25th. I am so excited. This will be the first of, hopefully, many mission trips I will make. Thank you so much for giving me a peek into the real deal (the good and bad). Your writing style is very fun and easy to read:). I told our youth pastor I found this site by accident. In retrospect, I'd have to say it was no accident. God is so good:). Between you and jlo, I have picked up many pointers for our trip. I so look forward to touching the lives of the people there as well as having them touch my life. I hope you will continue to write of your journey.
PS: I don't know if you attend The Grove Church, but I thought it was funny that if I understood, the church meets in a movie theater? Our church, North Point (, in Springfield, MO just moved into our new building Good Friday of this year. We met in a movie theater for 1 1/2 years:).
Anyway, write on!!!
God Bless.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Lafe said...

Lynette, I am sure y'all will have a great time down there. I can say one thing for sure, you won't regret it. I didn't want to come back.

Here are two good tips for you.

1. Tetanus shot!
2. Toliet paper!

If you got those two things, you will be able to survive down there.

I will keep writing the adventure down, if for nothing else so you will know what it is like. And keep reading, the story just keeps getting better and better.


P.S. The Grove actually meets at a place called the Dickson Street Theatre. It isn't a movie theatre, but actually a bar. But it is still pretty cool...

Good luck on your trip.

4:39 PM  

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