Escape!

28 05 2009
Our classroom

Our classroom

OK, so I’m not that good at blog post titles.  But anyway, I did have a mini-adventure last night that I thought was worth writing about.  We were supposed to have class until 7:30, but I had permission to leave about seven to meet Gumy and make the 7:30 service at the mission.  (I think it adds a little more weight to such things that I’m able to say they asked me to play the piano.)

So I went to leave the building about 7:05.  It was almost pitch dark, and as I felt my way to the head of the stairs, I found the doors wouldn’t open … they were padlocked from the other side.  I went around the second story indoor “balcony” area, but the doors were locked there too.  Not being entirely without ingenuity, I remembered seeing another opening from where I had started that opened directly to the first floor patio, and I started out that pretty confidently, only to find that the big double doors leading out were padlocked as well.  That left me at a standstill.

So I headed back to where Marcelo was with the other two students and told him that everything was locked up … so he could get his keys and unlock the doors, right?  Think again.  He went up to our classroom on the 2-1/2 story floor in a hurry, and came back down again, and tried all the doors that I had tried, I think.  Then he asked me if I had a cell phone.  Then we went back and asked if either of the other two students had a cell phone.  The offices were locked up too, so we couldn’t use the school’s phones.

It looked rather as if we were going to spend the night at school, to me.  I had told my family not to wait up for me, as I was sure to be 9:00 getting back.  But I remember our Brazilian professor talking about how extreme need in Latin American countries tends to breed creativity.

Marcelo said, still quite confidently, that he was going to solve this problem, and disappeared.  After a few minutes, I went looking for him, and found him on a little glassed-in balcony overlooking the street corner.  He had raised one of the windows, and he explained to me that one of the school’s teachers parked right over there, and he thought he would come by to drive his car home at 7:30.  That wasn’t a lot of comfort to me, as I knew Gumy was waiting for me on the plaza a block away.  She was going to be very late for church at best, and if she didn’t wait for me I couldn’t make it.

But Marcelo was leaning out the window hollering at a little boy.  Somehow, another employee”s son was passing by just then, and Marcelo explained to him that they had locked us in … could he get his dad, please … no, his dad wasn’t at the school; he probably was at home; the school was locked up and we couldn’t get out ……. He remarked to me, “Tenemos suerte esta noche,” but I thought it was something more than luck.

If you want a mental picture, Marcelo is the only man I’ve seen in Bolivia with shoulder-length hair (nice and wavy), leaning out of the second story window overhanging a steady stream of buses, taxis, and other traffic, hollering at this little boy.  Then he went back to tell the other students what was going on, asking me to keep an eye out for the teacher who would be picking up his car.

Fortunately, Gumy knew I was going to be at school, and she wandered over that way, so before long we had a little nucleus of people on the other side of the narrow street, hollering back and forth in Spanish across the taxis with Marcelo.  There was the little boy, his mother carrying a baby, the teacher and a student that was with him, and Gumy.

Marcelo and I didn’t have much to do but enjoy the situation.  Besides, as he remarked, it was something not to forget, but he casually added at one point that he was going to kill some people today.  Finally the little boy’s dad arrived and made his way upstairs unlocking padlocks, and I made my way out.  It was just so much one of those things that you knew would never happen like that in the US … if only because all three of us would have had cell phones (and so would Marcelo if he hadn’t been beaten and robbed a couple of weeks ago, as he casually told us tonight, but that’s another story).

View of Sucre from the church

View of Sucre at night, from the church

On another note, I’m still really enjoying being able to attend the services at the mission church.  Although we were late last night (and we did take a taxi to make up for lost time), half of the church was later than we were.  When we got there, René was trying to play the accordion, left hand only, and lead the singing, and there was one person in the congregation.  He asked me to go ahead and play the keyboard, and we made it fairly well, I think.  If I entirely bungled it, he’d never give me a hint, though.  I really love these people – and I feel that they love me.

He asked for testimonies before prayer, and I wanted to testify.  We had a good service Sunday morning (and I wasn’t able to find the church in the evening).  But I wasn’t sure whether it wouldn’t be forward of me.  Many of the local people seem a little reluctant, and my Spanish is limited, and … I just didn’t have the confidence.  So I began praying that if I ought to testify, the Lord would let René ask me to.  The more I thought about it, the more impossible it looked.  To start with, I had never seen him ask anyone to testify, and it isn’t customary to do so in holiness services except right at the start.  He was talking, and encouraging people to testify, and no one was, and that wasn’t abnormal.  But in addition, I knew that he knew I can have trouble putting a simple sentence together in Spanish, and he wouldn’t want to embarass me.  I didn’t know that, on top of that, he had forgotten my name, but it did add up to impossibility.

Gumy testified, and I decided that either I wasn’t supposed to testify, or I had set too hard a test.  But at about that point, René said that they hadn’t heard anything from me yet, and – pardon his forgetting my name – but he asked me to testify.  I confess being rather astounded, though I shouldn’t have been.  At least I didn’t forget what I was going to say, and I did manage to get something out that I think was fairly intelligible.

Again, the congregation piled into the SUV to go home.  There were hardly any children this time.  René has become comfortable enough to laugh at me (as when I remarked that my Spanish was overly formal).  All of the people are very friendly with me.  We have enough common ground that I don’t have to struggle with overcoming barriers like I do with a lot of the people outside the church, although I’m not saying the barriers aren’t imaginary ones mostly on my part.

Well, I had better wrap this up.  I still want to post pictures from the Potosí trip, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance fairly soon.  Thanks to everyone who is reading this!  If you have any questions, feel free to post them, and I’ll try to make at least a quick response.  (You can click on the itty-bitty “comments” link at the end of the post.)  I try to post what’s interesting, but there’s so much going on that I feel like it’s just random snapshots.

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3 responses

28 05 2009
AmyR

Wow, I’m kind of shocked. I just saw that a Google search for “missionaries in sucre, bolivia” had brought up my blog!

1 06 2009
danieljosiahmount

Google indexes WordPress blogs like crazy.

1 06 2009
AmyR

I figured that the ranking was on account of WordPress. I was still kind of surprised to see it happen, though. I don’t suppose there are many missionaries in Sucre, though.

Your name is different here than on your blog … BTW, your blog is about the only news I’m keeping up with here. I figure that whatever Obama is doing will keep until I get back. But if, say, GV gets a bass singer, I want to know it now! 😆

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