A man's machete is certainly a key possession here in rural Nicaragua. It is one detail of machismo that I had to adopt; although I don't use my machete daily, I felt it was a very necessary purchase to express my manhood. The Nicaragua man (or woman for that matter) can do amazing things with the machete...cutting saw grass, cutting bricks, chopping fire wood, planting seeds, chiseling out a pretty exact cut from a piece of wood, et cetera, et cetera.
I suppose the frequency of machete use makes it a frequent instrument of injury as well. Since moving to my community in Jinotega, Nicaragua I have seen three pretty bad machete inflicted wounds. First, a special needs child limped to my house one evening looking for a band-aid for a stitch worthy gash on his knee. Recently a girl came by my house with a patch over here eye...I later discovered that the patch is over the spot where her eye used to be. While someone was chopping firewood, this poor girl took the blade to the eye. I feel for her and I wish her the best, but accidents like this do happen--all over the world--and when little kids are playing around machetes, they happen more frequently. I just hope that this girl doesn't stop going to school because of her unfortunate accident; however, I fear that school might be put off for a long while because of embarrassment. Then we will have another uneducated woman in the town, only this one with one eye. We can hope for the best!
Lastly, this morning I day dreamed about medical school after having to patch up a finger that had been sliced by a machete. Pardon the mental image, but this man sliced off a good chunk, taking half a finger nail with it. He is lucky, gracias a Dios, that he did not lose the appendage. We cleaned it with alcohol before covering with gauze and antibiotic cream. I of course had to explain that I am NOT a doctor and that I recommend he sees a doctor. But, since I have a first aid kit, I feel that anything I can do to prevent infection is worth doing. (I don't have much confidence that a visit to the doc will be made...).
So, please tenga cuidado con sus machetes!!