December 24, 2006

God willing

Friday I used the "Si Dios quiere" line. (If God is willing.) Sorry to sound disrespectful. I don't make fun of people's religious beliefs. El Jefe and his family are very religious and I respect that.

In Honduras, however, religion is sometimes used as an excuse or a sales tool, with businesses describing themselves as "Christian" in their advertising and on their business cards. I don't like that. In fact, in my business dealings in this country, some of the self-proclaimed Christians have been among the worst cheats of all.

It's one thing to wish someone to get well and hearing
"si Dios quiere," because getting well probably is in the hands of God, and quite another to say "see you tomorrow" to someone and have them say "si Dios quiere." You know full well that it really means, "If I feel like working tomorrow" or "If I feel like fixing your car today" or "If I don't spend your money instead of ordering the part that you just paid for" or "If God suddenly puts 72 hours in a day and I can actually meet all the compromisos (promises) that I have made to everyone."

The sweet young nurse who has been giving me a shot everyday kept reminding me that the laboratory is only open until 11 a.m. on Saturdays. She started off saying to come by 10:30, and as the week went on, by Friday she said to come at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

I definitely wanted to get the shot from her as going to a new person scares me a bit. Will they mix the two potions properly? Will they dig the needle around first until I scream like others have done? Will I be able to watch them open a new, clean needle from a package? Also, because she has been so nice, I didn't want to keep her late on Saturday, her last workday before Christmas.

But, just in case, so it wouldn't be my fault if I was late, I answered
"Si Dios quiere." She gave me a funny look but agreed, "Sí. Si Dios quiere." (Yes. If God is willing.) It gave me a strange feeling of empowerment. I really enjoyed it. From that point on, I felt I was absolved of all responsibility for punctuality.

As it happens, we didn't get there until 10:45, and then, horror of horrors . . . as we were parking, I realized I had forgotten the medicine to be injected! I went in to pay for the injection while El Jefe rushed back home to get the medicine. I said, "Yes, I'm here on time, but I FORGOT THE MEDICINE!" I apologized profusely. I really felt terrible about it and I didn't feel at all that it was God's fault.

She and the clerk were very nice about it and said they would wait. When I pulled my money out, the clerk told me I didn't have to pay. "Por qué?" (Why?) They just laughed and said something I couldn't understand. I jokingly asked if it was "un regalo de Navidad?" (a Christmas present?) and they laughed again and agreed. Eleven o'clock came and went. As I sat there waiting, they began turning people away because they were closed.

El Jefe rushed in with the medicine, I got my shot and the nurse even happily brought a band aid to put on my butt because I had brought one on Friday because on Thursday my bum bled right through my slacks.

I thanked her and we all said
"Felíz Navidad!" Every now and then my faith in people is restored. Sometimes people are nice just to be nice.
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