More observations

19 09 2009

I “escaped” again this afternoon for about 45 minutes.  Someone had told me I needed to try churros – I think they’re a Mexican specialty – and I went up to a little panadería (bread shop) I had seen a few blocks away.  I bought two for one quetzal (Q7.9/$1).  It was about like graham crackers would taste if you made them twice as thick and rolled them into fancy work before sprinkling sugar on top.  I go past the little shops and look in, and they’re so inviting, but I haven’t ever known what to ask for.  I don’t like just pointing and saying, “Give me that.”  When they know that I don’t know what it is at all.

Then I wandered a little farther … I’d eaten breakfast very late in the morning and no lunch.  I found my frozen yogurt shop again.  This time there were people ordering in front of me, and I watched them a little while.  I asked for mango, and the girl told me that I could have three fruits.  I randomly put together mango, strawberries, and banana.  The yogurt was almost gone when I realized my fresas (strawberries) had really been cerezas (cherries).

See, I sat down and started reading this Guatemalan newspaper.  It was a countrywide one.  The first five to eight pages were the crime reports.  Two teenagers had been killed in Guatemala City.  Over somewhere else, a guy who delivered bottled water on his motorcycle was murdered.  If I got the gist of that right, it was because he wouldn’t pay a Q5 fee to be under some gang’s “protection.”  They’d found a dead women with dogs after her body out somewhere else – didn’t know who she was.  And a baby a couple of months old with a wound on it, that had been thrown in a river some days earlier.  And a couple of policemen that had been arrested for ongoing shoplifting in a local market somewhere.  And an ex-policeman that was gunned down with an M-16 while driving his car.  And a couple that was gunned down in the street, while their 24-year-old son was killed a few minutes later by someone (I assume the same murderers) breaking into his home – He yelled at his wife and little baby to hide because someone was after him, and they survived.

There were almost no reports of anyone being arrested for the murders.  They had pictures of the dead bodies, or the crime scenes.  They had descriptions of the getaway car.  There were pictures of a couple men who were arrested with stolen horses.  As I read, I understood why I had heard Guatemalans speak almost reminiscently of a cruel, self-serving, dictatorial leader from a few decades ago who had arrested any robbers on the spot and had them immediately shot.  Back then, they remember, you could even leave your front door open, and nobody dared to steal anything.  Last Saturday, I was standing in front of his portrait in that museum.  They said he considered himself the Napoleon of the Americas.

There followed a community section, and after that a two-page write-up about a home for old people that was out of money and about to close.  They couldn’t pay the workers, and some were single moms who had to leave and go somewhere that they could earn money for food.  There were pictures of a 103-year-old woman.  Another woman, 77 years old, had been abandoned by her daughter on the streets of Antigua after her son-in-law didn’t want her any more.  She had lost an eye from the beatings she received from these two.  A man said his wife and son dropped him off there and told him they would come back for him, but he hadn’t seen them since.

So I finished my yogurt and left.  I wandered on down to the plaza to look at the cathedral and see what times it might be possible to visit it.  It was open, and there were people cleaning and more in it.  I don’t think they would be used to tourists coming in.  And I came back here to get you guys up-to-date.

In other news … Lee asked me last night how I would like to go to Honduras.  He said there is an ACE conference to be held in Spanish there.  I looked over at Maria, and we started laughing.  I said, “I think that’s just where I need to be.”  Finally I said the Spanish part sounded good …  If I go, we’ll also be cutting catty-corner across El Salvador.  I suppose that sounds pleasant and all, but … I’d rather have quality time in one place than hop, skip, and jump around.  It would only be a Thursday to Saturday, but I’m just not interested in anything to do with ACE.

On the other hand, I asked Lee about these women who go out and hold children’s Sunday Schools in the surrounding areas on Sunday, and he said he would talk to somebody about me going with them.  (It was his suggestion originally.)

Lee and Sharon got back from Honduras on Thursday … and if there is more news, I’m not able to think of it right now.  Talk to you later!

P.S.  One of the students from my group in Bolivia emailed me 194 pictures from that first two weeks, the part where I lost my camera.  They include a lot of pictures of our hike in the mountains.  If you’re interested, you can view them in the Kodak gallery over here.  (Let me known in the comments if that link doesn’t work – I just copied it out of his email.)  I know that’s a lot of pictures, but I have neither the time nor the patience to be more selective!

P.S.2  Lee told me that this specific newspaper goes after the sensational in the first place … But that didn’t make me feel an awful lot better.

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One response

20 09 2009
AmyR

OK, I looked up the Singing News Fan Awards, passed out last night … and I couldn’t believe it! Greater Vision got practically nothing! “Horizon Individual” for Jacob Kitson, and “Favorite Songwriter” for Rodney, but since some folks already call that the “Rodney Griffin Award” anyway, it wasn’t surprising. I guess this proves that I don’t like GV just because they’re the “top group.” Of course I wish the Booth Brothers all the best. I am going to have to check out their music a little better … I said that last year too, though!

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