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  • On a very small island within the Río Paraná of Argentina, reached roughly by a 20-minute walk from the study abroad program office, followed by a 40-minute train ride from Buenos Aires, and lastly a 45-minute boat trip down the river from Tigre, you wouldn’t expect to find much activity. Indeed, there isn’t much, a very welcome change from the rush and crowds of the city this past Saturday. Accessible on the island to the average visitor, there is a small bit of sand along the river, some beach furniture, a little restaurant, a deck off this restaurant, a trampoline, and a dock. As a part of our program, a decent group of us made the trip out to this island over the weekend to spend a nice portion of the day just relaxing.

    Even in such a peaceful environment, however, we managed to bring a little bit of chaos with us, or to create it here.

    ___

    Enter, the large, rusted piece of metal sitting casually on the aforementioned dock, and Jessica’s foot.

    And their meeting, of course, apparently while she was preparing to make some sort of running start off the dock and into the water.

    ___

    Jessica (hobbling up the steps of the deck, one foot notably unhappy, blood flowing freely out of it in a trail behind her): “Why would you just put a big rusty piece of metal on a dock like that? That doesn’t make any sense!”

    Numerous individuals followed behind and looked on from the deck:

    “Oh my God, what happened to your foot?!”

    “Jessica, where are you going?”

    “Stop walking! Sit down!”

    “Oh my gosh, please stop walking.”


    Clearly in no proper mindset to be logical, however, Jessica continued on her way across the deck and toward the restaurant. “I just need some paper towel or something. I’m just gonna get some paper towel. It’s fine.”


    From her captive audience, now running about and trying either for a closer look or to erase what had already been seen:

    “No, stop, don’t go into the food place, you’re tracking blood everywhere!”

    “Just wait outside, I’ll get you some paper towel!”

    “What’re we gonna do?!”

    “There’s so much blood!”

    “Uh, you’re gonna need a tetanus shot.”

    “Yes, definitely a tetanus shot!”

    “Have you gotten a tetanus shot in a while? I think they only last 5 years!"

    “No, 10 years, but still! Did you see that piece of metal?!”

    “Jessica, where are you going?!”


    And in the distance, where the situation was still a bit blurrier:

    “Jessica’s bleeding really badly!”

    “Why, because she’s on her period?”

    ___

    Seemingly ignoring all of this, Jessica continued into the restaurant, blood still flowing, determined to get her paper towel from the restroom all the way in the back corner of the room. Quite thankfully, however, she was quickly stopped by someone who – due perhaps in the least to two working feet – had beaten her to the paper towel. She was turned around and ushered over to a couch conveniently placed nearby on the deck.

    It was at this moment also that several individuals finally processed what Sean, another member of the group, had casually offered to the conversation (if it could be called such a thing) a number of times already. “I’m a paramedic; I can probably help.” (Yes, of course, there just happened to be a paramedic sitting right there on the deck while Jessica ran around amidst a crowd of individuals, bleeding profusely.)

    As individuals started to move out of the way and some continued to panic about what should be done, Sean knelt down to take a look at Jessica’s foot. Apparently, just holding a piece of paper towel to the gash on the back of her heel wasn’t going to be sufficient.

    Having also taken note of the situation, two small children, both of whom had been playing with a very small kitten for much of the day prior, shuffled out from the restaurant with a first aid kit. Offering it to Sean, they remained close beside him to observe the situation. The older one, perhaps 5 or 6, held the box patiently, looking quite inquisitively at Sean’s work and occasionally scanning the box in search of something that might be helpful. The younger one, no more than 4, watched too. She, however, seemed far more concerned than interested. Quite visibly empathic to the prospect of getting hurt, her brow remained strongly furrowed as she watched, and she chewed nervously on her finger in hopes that things would be alright.

    ___

    Gradually, the bleeding was slowed, the wound cleaned, and bandages attached. Spectators got in their last few recommendations for tetanus shots and the girls carried the first aid box back inside. Jessica hopped up from the couch and strolled off the deck, as if nothing much had happened.

    Nearly as quickly as it had begun, the situation seemed to dissolve.

    With little doubt, however, it won’t be one quickly forgotten when any of us think back on the trip to Tigre.
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