Lupe Pimentel, a large, sweet-faced woman whose nickname is La Molacha — Gap-tooth, she is missing several upper front teeth — was at the door in tears. Her eight-year-old son, Chuy, had broken his leg, she thought. Could I drive him to the pueblo’s clinic?
Of course, how not? She and I piled into the dented little Fiat and jounced downhill. The biggest problem was getting up the gloriously misnamed Calle Rico, which in those days was a steep no-man’s-land of trench-deep ruts and barrel-sized boulders, to the Pimentel’s home.
I got within about eight meters of the tar-paper-roofed, wattle-sided jacal, and Alfonso Pimentel, a small man with a blade-like nose and a wispy mustache, carried the boy to the car. In the cramped back seat, La Molacha held the youngster carefully.
“This is going to hurt,” I said, “It’s all ruts and rocks.”
Stoically, Chuy barely whimpered as we lurched and banged down the road. But at the clinic, he cried as the doctor prodded and then, after asking if I was going to pay, took X-rays. When the pictures were finally developed, the medico said Chuy’s femur was shattered.