On October 31st I published a post entitled “The Living and the Dead” in which I mentioned the general dearth of flowers in United States cemeteries and how in Mexico the flowers had not yet vanished. I think perhaps that I may have written that prematurely. On Sunday, November 2nd my wife Gina and I went to the local cemetery to clean her family’s graves and to place flowers. It just so happens that Irapuato has had several reported cases of Dengue Fever this year and is making a big effort to prevent the spread of Aedes Aegypti, which is the name of the vector mosquito that carries the disease. Dengue comes in four different forms and one of them, Dengue Haemorrhagic, is very serious and life threatening, especially to children. It’s symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bleeding.
When we arrived at the cemetery we learned that the water spigots in the cemetery had been turned off and that no one was being allowed to bring water into the cemetery. In addition, the city had already begun filling the traditional flower receptacles with sand so that they couldn’t be used by mosquitoes for breeding purposes. I took photos of two signs that explained it all in Spanish and I thought that they would make an interesting Spanish Lesson. Through my own learning experience I found that studying notices of this type are excellent ways to build your vocabulary. Sometimes the words that you see in a notice of this type do not match the definitions that you may find in your handy dandy Spanish/English dictionary. For that reason I have translated the Spanish into colloquial English and added some notes at the end with explanations of certain words.
Por disposición del Comité Municipal de Salud a partir de esta fecha como medida para prevención del dengue, los floreros de este recinto se estarán rellenado con arena para evitar que se conviertan en criaderos del mosco transmisor de la enfermedad. Agradecemos su comprensión, Atentamente, Comité Municipal de Salud
By order of the municipal health committee from this day forward as a measure of prevention against dengue the flower receptacles in this area will be filled with sand to avoid them becoming converted into incubators of the disease transmitting mosquito. We thank you for your understanding, Sincerely, The Municipal Health Committee
LA ENFERMEDAD DE DENGUE SE PREVIENE CON LA ESTRATEGIA DE PATIO LIMPIO Y CUIDADO DEL AGUA ALMACENADA
The dengue disease is preventable by the strategy of a clean yard and care with stored water.
1.) Conserva tu patio y azotea limpios, sin hierba y ordenados.
Keep your yard and roof clean and orderly and free of weeds.
2.) Tapa los recipientes el los que almacenas el agua que usas y consumes en tu hogar.
Cover the vessels that store the water that you use in your home.
3.) Permite que la Brigada de Salud desinfecte los depósitos de agua, tales como tinacos, cisternas, tambos, y piletas.
Allow the Health Squad to disinfect the water vessels such as roof tanks, cisterns, drums, and basins.
4.) Lava y cepillar los depósitos y cambia el agua de cubetas, floreros y bebederos cada tercer día.
Wash and brush receptacles and change the water in buckets, flower holders, and water troughs every three days.
5.) Coloca bocabajo o tapa y coloca bajo techo los recipientes que utilizas como cubetas y embases; y perfora tus macetas para que el agua fluya.
Turn face down or place under cover the receptacles that you utilize like buckets and containers and put a hole in your flower pots so that the water drains.
6.) Elimina recipientes que no utilizas y que acumulan agua: llantas, cubetas, juguetes, trastes, bolsas de plástico, fichas o botellas, ya que facilitan la proliferación del mosquito Aedes Aegypti.
Eliminate vessels that you don’t use that accumulate water: tires, buckets, toys, dishes, plastic bags, and bottle caps or bottles since they help Aedes Aegypti mosquito proliferate.
7.) Instala mosquiteros en puertas y ventanas.
Install mosquito screens on doors and windows.
8.) Permite que la brigada de salud entre a tu casa y cumple sus recomendaciones.
Allow the health squad entry to your house and comply with their recommendations.
9.) Acude a la unidad de salud si presentas fiebre, dolor de cabeza y atrás de los ojos, dolor de cuerpo en general, articulaciones o coyunturas.
Go to a medical facility if you develop a fever, headache, pain venid the eyes, general body aches, or joint pain.
10.) No te automediques.
Don’t self medicate.
EL PATIO DE MI CASA ES PARTICULAR, SE LIMPIA Y SE ORDENA PARA NO ENFERMAR
The yard around my house is my responsibility To keep clean and orderly so it doesn’t cause illness.
In the first notice they used the word “mosco” to refer to a mosquito. You may not find “mosco” in your dictionary but you will find “mosca” which means “fly”. The word “mosco” is a slang term for a mosquito which is also often called a “zancudo” (zahn-COO-doh).
In line one of the second notice they used the word "azotea" for roof. In Mexico an "azotea" means a flat roof that you can usually walk on and can serve as a roof patio. The type of roof that is most common in the U.S. which we call a "gable roof" is called a "techo de dos aguas" or "a roof of two waters"in Mexico.
In line five of the second notice you will find the word "embases" (containers) but you wont't find it in your dictionary because it is spelled wrong. The letter "b" should be a "v" and this is a fairly common error.
In line six of the second notice you will find the word "fichas" which means "bottle cap". You probably won't find that definition in your dictionary. A "ficha" is usually a paper file or a file card but in Mexico the use of ficha for bottlecap is quite common. You may also hear the word "corcholata" in reference to a bottlecap and this word you may find in your dictionary.
In line seven of the second notice you will find the word mosquitero. This word is used for standard window screen while a mosquito is generally referred to as a "zancudo" or "mosco" as they did in the first notice.
In line nine of the second notice they use the words "articulaciones" and "coyunturas". They both mean the same thing, "joints", as in elbow joint or knee joint. Younger people will probably use"articulaciones" and old folks will more probably use "coyunturas". It is a sign that the language is evolving.
Under the photos of the signs below (click them to enlarge) you will see a photo of a "florero" that the city has already filled with sand.
When we got near the cemetery and Gina learned that she wouldn't have access to water to wash off the top of her grandmothers' tomb she bought a plastic bucket that had a lid and she had them fill it with water. When we got near the entrance of the cemetery where the police were checking everyone I told her to be careful because the weight of the bucket made her lean to one side and for sure they would know that she was carrying water. So, what does she do? Just before we go through the police check she turns and thrusts the bucket at me and then goes through the line with no problem leaving me standing there with the bucket of water. There was nothing I could do but walk forward acting very nonchalant. One of the policemen stopped me and asked what I had in the bucket and I tell him that it is food for El Día de los Muertos and that it is a family tradition. To my great relief he waved me through. Then when we got to the tomb and Gina started washing it with water several people came up to me and asked where I got the water. I told them that I just found it sitting there in that bucket. Then I thought "Wow, I just told two whopping lies and now I will probably have to do extra time in Purgatory". That really isn't fair. I think I am going to write to the Pope and explain to him that those two lies should accrue to Gina's account and not mine. I intend to use the same defense that men have been using going all the way back to the time of Adam and Eve..."The woman made me do it".
By the way, the last picture shows Gina sitting on the edge of a tomb. Her father's mother and his grandmother are buried there and when he dies he will be buried there too. He invited me to join him when my time comes. He said there will be plenty of room. They take the bones of the people who are already there and consolidate them into little boxes which they include in the coffins of the new arrivals. Sounds okay to me. I think I just might take him up on that. I'll have to remember to bring a deck of cards!
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