Disclaimer: I tell this story much better in person.

I was preparing to graduate 12 new health promoters. Part of that means printing off official photo ID’s or carnets that they can wear while working. After a full, full day in the capital, a long bus ride, and an uncomfortable motorcycle ride, I got home and there was electricity! So I began unpacking. When going through the carnets I only came up with 11. How – how??? I immediately realized that the one missing was my next door neighbor’s and at 16, the youngest member of the class. I remembered seeing it at the print shop as the worker stamped holes in them. They had handed me a rubberbanded pack of all 12 carnets. I hadn’t counted, but they wouldn’t have left one out, right? WHY DIDN’T I COUNT?! After hours of searching I began to accept the fact that I must have left it at the print shop.

After a panicked phone call to the lovely Laura Castello, Health PCVL, the next morning Laura’s boyfriend dropped by the store, picked up a newly printed carnet (the store couldn’t find it either – we’ll never know what happened to it!), and handed it off to Laura. Laura then gave it to Julia, a health volunteer whose bus stop is near my bus stop, the bus to Cevicos. She stopped by and dropped off an envelope containing the carnet with bus’ cobrador.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. I don’t live in Cevicos. I get off at a colmado by a gravel/dirt road and take a motorcycle for 20 minutes to get to my site. So…how was this envelope going to get to me?

“Just tell them to give it to the colmado owner and have them send it with anyone who passes by headed towards my site,” I told Julia.

“Are you sure Laura? That sounds kind of crazy.”

“Just tell them it’s for la americana.”

That evening I still hadn’t gotten an envelope with the missing carnet and I began to realize how crazy my plan had been. My neighbor was over visiting and I broke the news that she might have to get hers later than everyone else. She seemed sad.

“Tomorrow we can go and ask the colmado about it,” she suggested. I nodded and said we could, but I didn’t have hope.

The next morning I called Lisette, my project partner’s daughter who lives near Cevicos and had ordered the cake for the graduation for me.

“Oh yeah, Laura, by the way, I have an envelope here for you that somebody dropped off here. Do you know anything about it?”


SOMEHOW this bus driver and cobrador not only knew who I was but knew somebody who would know me and be able to bring me the carnet. Below is a photo of the beloved envelope which arrived despite awesome odds.