It’s been a long day. You’re a nurse on a mission trip in Guatemala, and the heat must be getting to you a bit. But it looks like this is your last patient for the day. The fact that she doesn’t speak English doesn’t bother you. After all, you’ve taken several Spanish classes. During your week here in Guatemala, you’ve been doing pretty well so far.
When you ask what’s wrong, she says, “Me duele el pesquezo.”
Pesquezo? That’s a new one! Casually, you glance around. Where is that translator when you need him? No where to be found apparently.
You decide to try to figure it out. You ask her to show you where it hurts. She put her hand on her neck and shows you how it hurts when she moves her head.
Ah-hah! Now you’re getting somewhere. You proceed with the visit and wrap up another rewarding day seeing patients at a special rural clinic.
That night you tell one of your team members about pesquezo. She, also a nurse, says, “Oh, that means ‘neck’, right?”
“Yeah,” you say, “I think so. But how do you know?”
She pulls a little blue book out of her backpack. “I bought this before we came. That word’s in here. It’s says pesquezo is formally used to mean an animal’s neck. I guess that’s why we didn’t learn it in school.”
“Hey, why didn’t I know about this?” you wonder, thumbing through the spiral-bound, pocket-sized book.
“Well, you can look at it tonight if you want,” your friend says. “It’s been really helpful to me.”
“Thanks. That would be great. Then maybe I’ll get my own copy before our next trip.”
Heading out on a medical mission trip to Guatemala or southern Mexico? Make sure everyone on your team is prepared with a copy of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient ! Check out the special bulk package on Amazon of 8 copies for on $48. (Offer available through April 30, 2015.) Happy reading and happy travels!