SoHo is a neighborhood in Manhattan ('SOuth of HOuston . . . street). It's also an area of London (minus the capital 'H'). But in Hausa, soho means 'Old Man.'
Soho and I work together everyday in the OR. I think he's my favorite Nigerien. Apparently he retired a few years back, but keeps coming to work because we're short-staffed. I don't exactly know why he's still plugging along . . . regardless, I'm glad he is.
I absolutely love working along side of him. He is gentle and kind and has a great sense of humor. When we're not speaking through M. who translates for us, we use a series of charades, facial expressions, and lots and lots of pointing. Somehow it works.
Despite our verbal language barriers, Soho and I have learned very quickly to read each other . . . maybe instead of 'despite' it's more like 'thanks to'. He knows when I'm having a good day . . . or if a particular case is hitting me hard . . . and vice versa. He knows how to gently push me to keep going, for the patient's good, when I want to walk away because I can't emotionally detach myself enough from what is in front of me. I know when he's too tired to keep working. We know very little about the other, in terms of life-history or family or context . . . but we have, after only four months, learned to anticipate the other. I can't imagine my work without him.
But one of my favorite things about working with Soho is when he makes jokes.
Like the other day for example. We were doing the dressing change for a young guy with full-thickness burns on both his legs. As we were removing the old bandages, I tossed a pile of them in the trashcan . . . or at least I aimed for the bin . . . they actually scattered on the floor around the trash. Without missing a beat, Soho yelled for M. to come clean it up, adding 'Déborah aksdj oaij vslkdj lka vlkjsdlkj wlkvj lakvja lkj alksjv lkj dalkdjv lkj!!!!!'
Hearing my name, I glanced up at Soho, curious at what he said . . . but the gleam in his eyes said it all!
I'm not certain on the exact translation, but I'm pretty sure it was 'Hey M., you better get in here! Deb. is making a mess of your clean floor again!'
'HEY!' I said in my defense. Soho just kept working away . . . giggling.