This week, I have more than usual to tease you with! Based on today's snippet, do you think you could guess the theme for my blog next month? I'll update this post with the answer next week! =)
"These are pieces of banana trunk, chopped and sprinkled with water. This is what we use as an ice pack whenever people have a high fever in the barrio."
If this book looks familiar, that's because I've featured it before. And if you remember why, then you already know what this teaser is teasing you about! ;-)
How to describe Dr. Juan Flavier's writing style? I'd say that he gets to the point quickly, but he likes to take several short skipping steps instead of a few long strides. This is why it was hard for me to find two sentences which I thought said enough about his first book to make everyone else want to read it. Eventually, I settled for some dialogue from one of the more memorable anecdotes in the text.
Here is the rest of the story . . .
One day, Dr. Flavier was called to the bedside of a child who was burning up from pneumonia. This was in a remote rural area, which presented challenges that none of his training had prepared him for. The nearest hospital was a train ride away--and the child's family would barely be able to afford the fare. There was a small drug store in the village which stocked penicillin, but ever since it had been robbed one night by a man pretending that he had a medical emergency, the staff refused to open until after sunrise. Not even the most low-key "treatment" the doctor could prescribe--that of using ice to bring the child's temperature down--seemed to be available. The only time such barrios have any ice is during the the town fiesta, when it is brought in from another town. Dr. Flavier was simply stumped.
Then an old woman who had never had any medical training, much less learned how to read, heard about the problem. She brought over a small bundle and explained that it contained what the villagers used instead of ice whenever someone fell ill: chunks from the trunk of a banana tree and a little bit of water.
Later, Dr. Flavier returned to the city and obtained a scientific explanation for how banana trunks can serve this purpose. And from then on, one of his favourite catchphrases as a "doctor to the barrios" was: "Cut down a banana tree!"