Sunday, May 18, 2014

Agua! Agua! Agua!

I recently learned that in Honduras it’s a requirement to have a fire extinguisher and a reflective triangle in your vehicle at all times. I can kind of see the point of the reflective triangle, but a fire extinguisher? Really? When am I ever going to use that?! I’ve been driving for 20 years and have never had a use for a fire extinguisher in my vehicle. Most car fires are difficult for the fire department, so what good is a tiny little fire extinguisher really going to do in the case of a real emergency? Anyway, after putting it off for a long time, I finally bought the required items.

The next day, I took my car to get an oil change--the first one since we purchased the car last month. So, I took it to a little mom-and-pop shop that one of my co-workers recommended. Mid-way through the oil change, one of the mechanics came running around in a panic yelling “Agua! Agua! Agua!” We were all looking at him a bit strangely as he started going from container to container looking for one that might have water. Eventually he found a small bucket with water in it and started running back to the vehicle he was working on. At this point, we had figured out that a vehicle is on fire. So I also started glancing around looking for something that will hold water and I headed for a big cistern nearby. But, alas, it was bone dry. This is also the point in which I realized that there is no running water at the shop either.

Thankfully, the car on fire was not mine. It was a van parked next to it. I noticed that it was pretty small fire in the center console of a vehicle and that reminded me of my previous day’s purchase. I opened the back of my car and pulled out my brand new fire extinguisher. I handed it to the manager who used it to put out the fire while I retreated to a safe distance.

When I reluctantly purchased that little fire extinguisher, I could never have imagined how useful it would be the very next afternoon! The funniest part of the adventure was that my mechanic kept mimicking and ridiculing the other mechanic for the rest of the time I was at the shop and kept bursting into laughter over the crazy antics. And they were even generous enough to replace my extinguisher, which I gratefully accepted. I’ll never take that thing for granted again!

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