Thursday, May 27, 2010

Through the grapevine . . .

Hi guys,

Okay, I just had another fun cultural lesson. I was sitting out in front of a friend's shop, drinking a Coke and chatting with some guys. From the other side of the street I heard some loud wailing. This older lady ran out into the street screaming bloody murder. She wasn't really screaming any words or anything, just wailing. Everyone in the vicinity came running to see what was going on. I've never seen anything like it before. It was kind of like the story I told about the car accident a few weeks ago, only more extreme. This time even women came out in the street to see what was up. (Trust me, in my neighborhood it's a big deal when the women come out into the street en masse)

People were calling their friends and family, and carloads of people started showing up. I didn't realize there were that many people who live in my neighborhood! Anyway, the crowd finally managed to get her calmed down and taken care of.

One of my friends had gone to get involved, and when he got back I asked him what had happened. He said that a boy was sick, but they got him taken to the hospital. Apparently the lady had been wailing in order to attract attention so that someone would come take her son to the hospital. When one doesn't have a phone and there are no ambulances, this seems to be how you get someone to the hospital quickly.

I thought it was kind of cool. I'm sure it stinks for that lady and her family, but I was amazed at how the community immediately took care of the need. I guess it only works if everyone knows that that's the way things are done. I was thinking a little bit about what would happen if someone did that in the States. I think everyone would assume that they're a raving lunatic and pretty much ignore them. It was definitely a cultural lesson for me.

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