I was in a bus with my wife heading back to Guanajuato from Texas. We had visited my childhood friend Mark. My wife had fallen asleep. I took up a conversation with a Mexican heading to Mexico City. When he learned we lived in Guanajuato he said something I found most curious, "You must be taking your chances living in Guanajuato."
Not knowing what he meant I requested an explanation. He informed me that all the emergency services, except the police, were all volunteer. The fire and paramedic rescue workers were all under the auspices of the Red Cross. I was taken aback. I had no idea. We had not lived here, at the time, for more than a few months. He was correct. All of the emergency services, save the police, are Red Cross volunteers.
I would not have thought it.
Their facilities are top notch. The vehicles look top of the line. The equipment looked just like what you would see in the States. The firemen and paramedics looked tough as nails and I had watched them train as hard as anywhere in America. They do it, not for money, but for the love of saving their fellow Guanajuatenses in the event of a fire or medical emergency. I find that inspiring.
Once, perched high on an oxygen depriving callejon, sitting on stoop outside a small house, was an equally small, frail, and almost dead old woman. She was having some sort of heart event. The paramedics were called.
When they responded they had to leave their ambulance at the bottom of the mountain and run up its side taking two cement steps at a time. They carried equipment, stretcher, and themselves up the side of this mountain like they were supermen. They ministered to this old lady; loaded her on the stretcher and within seconds had her stabilized. They carried her to the waiting ambulance.
I wanted to find the guy in the bus and say,
"We aren't taking our chances at all. We have Supermen and Wonder Women watching over us!"