Too Close for Comfort

Posted on October 21, 2007 - Filed Under Simple Life |

This morning, something very bad happened in the jungle above us. We live in the very upper reaches of our pueblo and just a block or so above us, the narrow street turns into a trail that winds up into the nispero orchards and jungle.

We heard that something had happened about noon. There were conflicting reports, some said that one person had been robbed and killed, others claimed that an entire group of men had been slaughtered. Irving´s father headed up to see what was going on and get the real story after having seen 5 ambulances driving up.

So, this is what happened, as far as we know. Three town officials, male, accompanied four girls from the university who were going up to verify the nispero crops. As the jungle is not a very safe place to be, the three men went with them as protection. Along the way, they were waylaid. The three men were shot dead, an older man who appears to have been nearby was beaten to a pulp and the four girls were raped. One of them was kidnapped, but they let her go shortly afterwards.

I´m really, really freaked out by this. In the past six months, the violence in Guatemala has been getting closer and closer. Before, we could say, “It´s violent in the capital, but not here.” This is the latest in a string of murders, one of which was a young man of 15 who was killed while playing video games just down the street from us. His father is a thief, and they took revenge on his son. Just a few weeks later, a young man living just two houses up from us was ambushed and tortured and killed in another town.

While I love Guatemala and I love living here. I am not prepared to raise my children in a place where they will be in danger every time they leave the house. I know it´s not perfectly safe back in Canada, but I do think it is safer. For now, we can keep the children near us and safe, but what about when they are older and want to go to the park on their own, or the store?

Right now, I´m very scared and worried and I´m not sure what to do. Moving the entire family means major problems. It means trying to get Irving a visa (the boys are automatically Canadian citizens because I am), finding a place to live in a foreign country (ie, we´re not there, so it would be hard), and figuring out how to earn a living. At the moment, Irving has his music which pays quite well and I´m earning online, but I don´t earn enough to even pay rent in Canada and Irving wouldn´t be able to work.

Besides the money issues . . . this is Irving´s country, his family . . . how would he handle living in another country, possibly never seeing his parents and siblings again, and communicating in a language that is not his own. I am the one who chose to travel and embrace another culture, he has never wanted to change his life.

Sorry for the weird post, I´m feeling pretty disoriented right now. My children have to come first, but if we do have to leave the country . . . I just don´t know how to do it. And that is really stressful.

Update: 7 pm, Oct. 21

Irving just went out to the store to buy bread and discovered that there are police EVERYWHERE and no one is allowed on the street without their papers. (Guatemalans have little booklets called cedulas with identifying info) Seems a tad KGB to me, but it does make me feel better that the police are actually taking an interest in the case.

Also, rumor is that they caught two of the rapist/murderers in a pueblo just below us. I don´t know how many there were, but I suspect more than two if the cops are still crawling all over the town.


5 Responses to “Too Close for Comfort”

  1. Ruth on October 21st, 2007 5:37 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of the stress and danger that surrounds you presently. I will pray for you to have wisdom and discernment.

  2. Genesis on October 21st, 2007 6:40 pm

    Thank you, Ruth, prayers are much appreciated.

  3. burntofferings on October 21st, 2007 8:29 pm

    Kepp safe my friend, and our thoughts are with you all…

    Does this mean that if you move back to Canada, and you will no longer be an ‘expat’, what will you change the blog title to?

  4. Genesis on October 21st, 2007 9:46 pm

    I guess I´ll be Ex Expat Mom. :D

  5. Grace on October 21st, 2007 11:01 pm

    So sad and sorry to hear about that. As for your family, I have to say that children and their safety has to come first. The adults can adjust later. (the adults should adjust and not the other way around)

    Canada is a pretty safe place, I even want to relocate there sometime in the future. There are so many foreigners there and so many resources available for them (work, training, language study). It might be pretty hard on your hubby but it is just temporary. Things will get better. At least, every time the kids go out of the house, you are more certain they come back safe and sound.

    Goodluck on your family.

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