You have heard of “shooting yourself in the foot,” well I have done just that by complaining about the routine we have gotten into.
Today I was making block. Rather than being one of the shovelers, I was a carrying person. It seemed like we had been making block for hours. We had settled into a rhythm and were discussing “classic” movies.
It was my turn to lift the mold and drop it to settle the mix inside. Now keep in mind my shoes perfectly match the gray of the block and I had laughed to myself when it was suggested I bring steel-toed shoes.
I lifted the (about) 50 pounds of stainless steal mold, sand, cement and water and dropped it. Dropped it right on my right foot. As it hit my foot I felt a sharp pain in my foot. Everyone else making the blocks saw the mold as it landed unevenly and tipped over, spilling its contents back into the gray mix.
“Oooohhhh Laura messing it up,” I heard them laugh.
My foot felt really warm and really odd. It kind of felt like there was liquid in my shoe. Limping away from the group, I pulled off my shoe, held onto my knee and looked down at my foot covered in its black sock.
“Hmmm. Well the sock and general shape of my foot looked normal,” I thought to myself. It was then I saw the first few drops of bright red blood plop onto the green grass below.
By this time the other block makers (both Ghanaian and Miamian) noticed something was wrong.
“Laura? Are you ok?” they asked, “Sit down! Sit down!”
It felt like the tip of my toe had been cut off and my sock looked like a faucet pouring out blood.
They told me they had to take the sock off to look at. I couldn’t look. I was too certain I would see the tip of my toe separated from my foot. I was so unwilling to look, one of the students pulled the scarf I was wearing to keep my hair back over my eyes.
Looking though the turquoise flower pattern of the scarf, I felt them pull off my sock.
In unison I heard a collective gasp. The student who pulled the blindfold over my eyes tried to reassure me. “Its ok, its ok. Its… ahhh….. its ok.”
“Is it cut off? Is my toe cut off?” I asked from behind the scarf.
“No its not cut off, but do you have your toenails painted?” she asked. I felt water being poured over my foot and something strange. “They are wiping it off now,” she continued, “they are putting grass on it…. Yes, they are putting nice grass on it.”
Now I couldn’t tell if she was trying to keep me or herself calm.
Ripping back my blindfold, I stared down at my toe. Blood was pouring out from under the nail and a massive gash by the joint. The workers where dumping buckets of river water and trying to clout the blood with a handful of leaves/grass.
I couldn’t help by start laughing (looking back on the situation I am pretty sure I was in total and complete shock), but I had been so careful not to get anywhere near microbe fresh water and plants that could potentially infuriate my sensitive skin. Now I was getting buckets of water poured directly into my blood stream and leaves wrapped around my gaping wound.
Around this time most of the students had left the area (as I heard later, some of the students who had seen it happened were a little weirded out. They found it totally gross and I was just laughing). J came over, looked down at me, shook his head and walked away.
Finally the emergency kit I had been carrying around for weeks, every day all day, came to some use. The Ghanaian workers began to wrap bandage after bandage around my toe and proceeded to wrap about 3 feet worth of medical tape around the inches thick bandage. The student who had pulled the blindfold over my eyes reassured them that it was enough.
Samuel found me some sandals and I sat the rest of the day under the overhang of the school. By the end of the day, which wasn’t too much longer my bandage had become increasingly red and dripping blood.
By the time I got home the shock had warn off and I was beginning to get scared. I couldn’t help but cry. I was in a foreign country, my toe wouldn’t stop bleeding, they had dumped river water all over it and all I wanted to do was talk to my mom but I didn’t have a phone card. I was miserable.
Bucking up my courage and waiting for my eyes to become less red, I wrapped my foot in a new bandage and hobbled off to join the group at dinner.
I feel like an idiot for getting myself into this situation and I feel really bad about not being able to go to work today, but it still hasn’t stopped bleeding and I doubt I would be much help anyway.
Thanks for the picture Lucas!