Mexicans are some of the most self-sufficient people on the face of the earth. The have had to be because no one comes to their rescue when they need help. They just figure out, not always perfectly, and not always the way something should be solved, how to get something fixed or done. Here is what I mean.
Here in Guanajuato, where I live, we have our gas fed to us in portable tanks. When the things stop spewing out gas you call for the gas guys to bring a full tank. So far so good, right? However, on occasion something goes awry.
The tanks are connected to a regulator that allows you to switch between the two tanks when one empties. Our regulator sprung a leak this morning and so we had to call in the gas troops.A guy showed up, turned everything off, and took the empty tanks with him. He was supposed to bring the refills back. Well, three hours later he shows up with the refilled tanks but nothing with which to fix the leaking regulator.
He tells my wife not to turn anything on and that he would return at 5:00 p.m. to with the proper tools.In typical Mexican fashion, 5:00 p.m.
rolls around and he is a no show. I called the company's dispatch and the little Senorita asked me why I don't change the regulator myself and simply connect the full tanks, and then light the hot-water heater.Now, excuse me for living, but this girlie man American expat would not know the first, second, or third thing about changing gas tanks regulators.
I have a panic attack when the toilet runs, a light switch goes haywire, or anything else happens that requires owning and knowing how to use tools. I would more than likely blow up half of Guanajuato if I even thought of changing the gas tank regulators. After all I am an American and do what Americans do when something goes wrong: panic and call the repairman!.But, that is how it goes in Mexico. These people depend on themselves because they cannot depend on others to show up on time, to return phone calls, to keep appointments, to keep promises, so they simply figure out how to do things themselves.Now, this is something I admire in these people greatly.
I am humiliated to think that some Mexican seven year old could probably walk into the back of my place and in seconds have the thing fixed, switched, and pumping gas! And, I fear this is no exaggeration!.Perhaps it is something that they should hold on to and never let go. This fierce determination to survive when there is no one to come to his or her rescue.
They have done this for centuries and hopefully will continue to do it for centuries to come. They have never been able to depend on their government to come to their aid. They help themselves when the chips are down and life is looking grim.One Mexican woman told me that when things crumble to hell and back she refuses to sit down and cry. I asked her what does she do.She said simply, "Instead of crying and falling apart I think".
Do you think there is a lesson here?..Have you tried to learn Spanish, or any foreign language and failed. Are you like the thousands of Americans who took years of foreign language study and cannot string two words together in the target language? LEARN WHY AMERICANS ARE SO FOREIGN LANGUAGE ILLITERATE and LEARN HOW TO LEARN SPANISH or ANY FOREIGN LANGUAGE!!.
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By: Douglas Bower