November 1, 2011
Sir, Is This Your Car?
I'm home! We ended up riding home from the hospital in an ambulance, much to the delight of my paparazzi waiting in front of the house. The ambulance man wanted to discuss my opinion over the political situation and civil unrest taking place in Paraguay. He had lots of questions about what we're doing here, and then wanted to give me some pointers for working with Paraguayan youth. I did my best to stay awake and keep up the conversation, but it was a struggle, at least till we got to the cobblestone roads.
The doctor was a little reluctant to send me home because my blood iron levels were really low (8), and I kinda needed a transfusion. With promises that I'd behave and eat a ton of red meat, he agreed to the ambulance ride and sent me on my way. Then the mothers took over and began to force feed me whatever food and liquids they could get down my throat. Bless their hearts, they are keeping the food coming. It's good stuff, too! It's kinda like having Thanksgiving every day!!! If the mom and mom-in-law are gonna come cook up a storm like this, I may have to schedule some more medical procedures! (Okay, just kidding....)
So our car is still not working (remember it zonked out on the way back to the hospital?)--it appears it'll be a rebuild on the VW motor now. In light of the fact that we have errands to run and a house full of visitors, Ken and my dad hitched a ride into town today to rent a car. At their first stop, they came out to find the police towing the rental car. Again, the police were trumping up bogus reasons to fine/impound a vehicle, padding their pockets. This is way too common. Once the car is in the impound yard, the fine is several hundred dollars to get it out--whether or not the reason they put it there is legitimate.
This time they told him it was a no-parking zone, despite the fact that there was nothing to signal that this was a no-parking zone. There were many other cars parked there, too, but oddly enough, the one with the two American men getting out of it was the only one being towed. As they drove away with the car to God-only-knows-where-and-the-policeman-wasn't-telling, Ken and my dad jumped into the cab of the wrecker and rode along. Obviously, Mr. Policeman nor Mr. Wrecker Driver was happy about this, but in light of all that was going down, they couldn't lose the car (with my dad's camera in the trunk). Ken called us and we started praying.
To make a long story short, the supervisor met with Ken before they "officially" impounded the car, and the "fee" ended up being about $50 After they paid this, the supervisor let Ken know that he wouldn't be able to give him an official receipt (obviously), but at least they drove away with the car. The supervisor actually asked for twice that much, Ken told him what had happened, and then he reduced the fine to about $75. Ken paid this and the guy asked again why this is a rental car. Ken explained the "truck hit my wife" story/surgery/car breaking down/parents in town. He told him that we're not tourists, nor ranchers, just regular missionaries who live off donations of normal folks who want to help the people of Paraguay. The guy gave him back $25!!!! I know the bribe (oops, did I say that out loud?) was really not cool, but it's absolutely unheard of that the policeman would GIVE BACK money that's already made it to his pocket. Unheard of.
So as we stand, the kitchen is in full swing, I'm hanging out in the chair, and Ken and Daddy are on their way back home. We're enjoying this time with the family, and my pain is really very manageable. Gotta get that iron level up and get past this weak, dizzy junk, but that's do-able. Thanks for the prayers and emails you've been sending our way. They matter more than I can tell you!