Monday, September 14, 2009

Dorotea's Bucket

One night, our youngest daughter was experiencing croup. A bad case of croup. She was about 2 at the time. We were in the jungle and no doctor or hospital was available, we couldn't even call for an emergency flight to come get us. The Cessnas cant land at night on a dark airstrip. So, we did all we could. We set up a pop tent and I boiled kettles and kettles of water while she and her dad laid inside the sauna like environment, hoping to loosen the phlegm which was blocking her breathing. Finally, around 3 a.m. She was able to get rid of the phlegm and promptly fell into a deep sleep.

My husband and I prepared to get some sleep as well. A few minutes after we had gone to bed, just on the verge of that wonderful sleep...we began to hear something.


We went out of our room in time to see our son (10 years old or so) run by on his way outside! The 2 older girls were right behind him. We could hear indians beginning to run past our house, calling out...something!

We grabbed the little one and ran out as well. You see, children always learn a foreign language faster than their parents and Josh had understood the screams of the indians.

He heard them yelling, "FIRE! THE ROOF IS ON FIRE!", and as he rolled over and looked out his window, he saw the flames VERY close to our roof. He thought OUR roof was on fire.

We had taught the children that if our palm roof EVER caught on fire..Get out FAST! Dry leaves go up in flame very quickly and there is no time to grab anything. He took us at our word, and with only a yell over his shoulder to his siblings, he was out the door.

Once outside we realized the fire was at Tito and Dorotea's house, about 100 meters or so away.

My husband began to run towards the jungle path that led to our water pump. Their house was lost, but we hoped to be able to save the houses near it, including our own, by wetting down the roofs.

Clint ran out, barefoot, into the dark jungle. The indian trails are narrow and only wide enough to walk on in single file. Staying on the trail in the dark was not easy. The pump was about 500 meters or so down to the river. There was no moon light, and the jungle at night can be scary. I ran in and grabbed a flash light and tossed it to him.

(a narrow jungle trail)

In the mean time, I climbed up our water tower to unhook the flexible pipe which filled the barrels we used for a water storage tank.

Once down, my son and I began to pull the 2 inch hose towards the fire. A two inch hose full of water is HEAVY! We were pulling and had gotten to the edge of a thick piece of jungle we needed to get through to reach the fire. My young son's voice was a little frightened as he asked, "Mommy, are we going to walk through there without a light?!"

I answered in my own frightened voice, "I guess we have to." At that same moment, something SWOOSHED by us and we felt the hose pulled from our hands!

All this time, my husband is experiencing his own adventure! The flashlight I had tossed him...well, the batteries were dead. So he was running through the jungle in the pitch black! Now, unless you have been in the jungle on a moonless night, under the canopy of the forest without a light, you have NO idea how DARK it can get!

he ran, he prayed aloud, "Please God! No snakes!"

Later, he said he wished he had prayed "No thorns". I had to pull 13 thorns, some up to an inch long, out of his feet later. But he did make it to the pump house and he did get the pump started.

Josh and I felt the hose taken from us. It was so dark we couldn't see who, or what! had ran by until one of the Indians said, "We got it now".

Whew! I was glad to not have to go through that dark jungle!

After fighting the fire for several hours the village was able to save all but the one house.

The thing I remember most was poor Dorotea! She was crying, "My new bucket! I lost my new bucket!"

That was her prized possession! A plastic bucket.

I ask you, if you had a fire, would you be crying over a bucket? That kind of puts it in perspective for me. We are so wealthy.

Lets remember to be grateful! God has blessed us with so much in our country, we don't even comprehend how wealthy we are. So next time you (or I) feel like whining about not having something, think of Dorotea and her bucket.

(This is a typical Indian house)


T. Anne said...

Sounds like a scene right out of a movie! 13 thorns? OUCH!

Z said...

Man, JM, have you EVER had a dull moment?
I love the bucket story...thanks. I needed that :-)

Kathy said...

This story brings tears to my eyes to think of your friend and her bucket! Bless her heart. Are you able to stay in touch with any of those folks?

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Wow, Jungle Mom. Your stories take me home. I'm glad everyone was okay. Dorotea's story is incredible. Thanks for sharing it with us.

J.H said...

That is such a facinating story. I wonder what kind of life you had been living there.

Debbie said...

That does put everything into perspective. And what a story. I'm glad you all were OK.

Betty said...

This reminds me of a funny story, very similar. We had a really old motorcycle that always had trouble starting. One day it wouldn´t start again, and my hubby was trying to adjust the carburetor. Anyway, when he started it again, the whole thing went up in flames. Somehow there was a gas leak and the starting of the motor caused a spark. Anyway, while we were trying to douse the flames, with water (doesn´t work), he had this great idea to throw some sand on the fire. He took my new plastic bucket, filled it with sand and while he was trying to throw the sand onto the flames it slipped out of his hand and the whole bucket fell onto the fire! What did I say? "You burned my new bucket!!" Never mind his motorcycle was ruined....
We can laugh about it today, but I totally understand Dorotea! :)

Jungle Mom said...

They were in pretty deep too!

z, I assure you there were days when all I saw was rain...

Kathy, we do have contact with them but it is very infrequently.

Kristen, I'm so glad to have you as a reader!

J.H., our life was very simple but never boring.

Debbie, We all managed to survive the jungle in very good health over all.

Betty, The mind does funny things sometimes!

GutsyWriter said...

I was thinking about the thorns in the feet. You really have tons of stories to tell as you were living a much more primitive and simple life than the rest of us in the U.S.A.
I bet the croup followed by fires made you totally exhausted for days.