Saturday, May 23, 2015

Social Differences in El Salvador

I don't live in what I refer to as "the bushes" or what most consider a farm. I live in what is known as a caserio, or colonia - which is something like a burro version of a subdivision. The houses are butted up against each other, and if your neighbor puts on a second floor (like mine) they are looking down into your patio. But this is considered the good life for most. Although build me a nice house in the bushes and I'll take the cows and chickens any day over the constant sound of cars, and the chatter from my neighbors all around.
Juanito is getting a real life lesson in how privileged he really is. 10 days ago, while out drinking, a teenaged boy was pointed out to Juan. It was dark, and the boy was walking to the store to buy salt. Salt to put on his 2 tortilla dinner. He was pointed out because he is a young cousin of Juan's and the spitting image of his father, who is the spitting image of Juan. Throw Juanito in the mix and its quadruplets at various stages of life.
So the boy, Dolfo, came to our house, and is teaching us all a lesson in humility. He was wearing flip-flops that were so worn that they had no heel, so I guess a flip, without the flop. He had on a ripped t-shirt and shorts and is as skinny as my finger. Even the lady I took him to to buy pants chastised me for not feeding the boy.
His mother, who had left him years ago, now wants him back. Apparently he is a very valuable cow milker and corn planter. His father is too busy on his own campo to really care. Yet, when he came here after talking to the mother, and told Dolfo to get his stuff to go "home" the boy flat out refused. Has to make you wonder what else besides milking cows is going on in the campo.
He is shy to eat, and will still ask even for water even though I have already told him a 100 times to eat and drink whatever he wants. He is awed by our shopping trips to buy food, and shy to ask for something for himself.
The next step is to get him into school, which will be a project since he hasn't been for years. The hope is that the Catholic School where Juani goes will take heart and let him in and get him up to speed, even though the admission period is long over.
Having a kid like this around is an experience, and really makes you think about what is going on out in the bushes. And Dolfo is just one of thousands.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Looks Like They Got 'em Pretty Good

During the weekend killing sprees, the army managed to kill 3 of the suspects. The bodies were handed over to the families, and arrangements were made for the wake Monday night, and the funeral Tuesday. Well.... Monday night, while everyone was chowing down on tamales, bread and coffee, the police rolled up and rounded up 52 suspects. 52 who are all now sitting in jail, I know I am sleeping better now.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Guess You Have to Believe Me Now

With lines of communication still down, and families being harassed as they try and visit the jails, people started to get pissed. They are not warring inside of these jails as the government alluded, they have taken it to the street. It is still early, but so far the count is at 22 IN 2 DAYS! 22 people, some innocent, some not, who are going to be buried in the next few days.
22 doesn't seem like a high number of homicides in a country of 6 million. But that is not a country count. I can't even imagine what that number is. 22 is in San Miguel alone. One departmento in the eastern portion of the country.
And this my friends is only the beginning.
My one finger salute to the peice of shit who thought this was a good idea.

Quick Update as the national figures are in for this past weekend and stand at a total of 85 people killed in 3 days. Since none seem to have been killed inside of the jails, and most were people who were not a part of the problem, I would hope that they are re-thinking this grand plan of theirs.

Monday, April 27, 2015

To Catch a Thief

Late last year, Juanito came across a hand-held game online that we both fell in love with. Not only did the bright white PSP Go look like a cell phone, it came with a slideable cover to protect its delicate parts. It also let you download games so no worries about dust messing that up either.
Apparently to the rest of the world, this is an outdated toy, but I found one brand new online for $80. Saved the money, and ordered it, forgetting until it was too late that Amazon has one of my BFF's address listed as mine. No worries, she was as kind as always and promptly shipped it off to the MIL once it got to her house on the other side of the country (gracias again Leo)
Now in the hands of the MIL, it took about 2 months and another $45 to get a viajero and get it here. Since then, it has been Juanito's best friend, and my new BFF is the one guy in Centro who was able to figure out how to download games onto it at just a dollar a pop.
Juani is not allowed to take this PSP Go many places, but the neighbors have a regular PSP and apparantly this allows them to play against each other, which is what he went to do late yesterday afternoon.
In the meantime, I took a shower and got into my jammies. He is due home at 6:30, so by 7 I was heading next door to kick some 11 year old butt. I was greeted by a different 11 year old - Javi- who was crying and carrying on about someone being hit. Next is 10 year old Yami who is pretty much in the same state. As I stood in the corridor and tried to figure out what the fuck happened, mom arrived home so we went inside forever.
Finally having Juanito in sight, I found out that the PSP Go was missing. Javi had put it on a shelf so that the 5 boys in the house could play outside. Left inside was young Yami and a lady who lives a bit down the street.
At first my neighbor refused to accept the gravity, and I was having a hard time getting my point across. She just kept insisting that Javi was wrong in where he had put it, and that it was somewhere else. I gave it 5 minutes - and this is important - during which time me and my neighbor both examined a hamaca that was on the same shelf before she put it on the kitchen table. The lady in the meantime left.
So we went home and I admit, I may have said some things to my child. I think I threw my gina at him too. (no worries, its soft) while his father went back home. Once calm, I got the whole story. No one had gone in or left the house. NO ONE and Juanito had watched as Javi put it on the shelf. All that hitting I had heard about was the biggest boy hitting the younger 3 for "losing" the toy.
From the sound of things, they were getting more of the same from their mother and I felt inclined to set things right. Back next door I told her repeatedly that the kid was not lying or mistaken about where he put it, and that none of the other KIDS had touched it afterwards.
The lady was back, but more interested in texting than the drama going on around her. We left, with the decision that we would do nothing else until the morning.
I sat in my corridor with bat in hand waiting for the bitch theif to leave. It wasn't the money, it was my son. I want him to have nice things, and this bitch took it. Within 15 minutes my neighbor was there with the PSP in hand. She found it she says inside of the hamaca. The same hamaca that had been checked on 3 separate occassions..
So here is what aggravates me. Why was she so quick to accuse her kids and punish them, when it was clear who the thief was. What's more, why would she then cover for the thief? (She finally admitted that the she thought the lady had taken it and put it back)  This is a common issue here. Parents routinely take the side of any adult over their own kid, even when in the wrong. It's why young girls get molested and raped with frequency, and the molesters and rapists roam free.
My son is my world, and will always be defended by his mother, maybe even if he is in the wrong. If we are not on their side, if we don't defend them, who will?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just To Clarify

Looks as if Gotera has made national news with its recent relocation and acceptance of prisoners from a Sansonate jail. There is this misconception that they are perpetuating, trying to make it seem as if different gangs are now going to be mixed inside of the jails. That's not really what happened. The 13 were taken out, and the 18 brought in. Gotera is a 13 city, with its dirty deeds being dictated from behind the Gotera bars. 18 people don't live here, or if they do they are keeping that under wraps, or at least they were until their bosses showed up the other day. The war is not going to take place safely behind brick and mortar walls. It will take place in the streets, as wives, mothers and children of the 18 flock here to bring their beloved's water, food and clothes on visiting day.
Because now the little fish in the street have no one to report to. So it will be a power struggle as they try and figure out how to do things without the okay of the guy inside. He's gone now, to the other side of the country, and likely will be out of touch for weeks or more until someone can figure out how to get a cell phone to him. So his little fish are going to be flexing their little gills, and probably do stupid things in the mean time. While the 18 slowly infiltrates and tries to gain control. Anyone who lives where there are these 2 at odds will tell you, it's no picnic. The picnic is when one maintains control and the other stays far away.
So thanks to whoever came up with this cockimamy plan, and tried to hide it behind a big fat lie. Especially here, and now, where a 14+ year alcaldia just got overturned. What was once a semi peaceful small city, where extorsion on civilians was a big no-no, is now going to head into a period of anarchy as both the legal and non-legal governing forces are undergoing a major change at the same time. I give you the gringa one finger.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Was it I Just Said?

To reaffirm my upside down world theory, I was blessed today with one of the oddest things I have seen here yet, and that's saying a lot.

To start at the beginning, there was a raid nearby recently, and shots were fired, a gun was found and the police got pissed off. So as punishment, our big jail here in Gotera was emptied out completely today. All those guys shipped to another jail on the other side of the country. Late the same afternoon, 19 buses passed us by. No blacked out windows, or even bars. We got a full on view of 19 buses of shirtless prisoners, handcuffed in the back on their way to their new home. That is a long ass 6 hour drive. I don't have much love for these types of people, but there really had to be a more humane way of transferring them across the country.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The World is Indeed Upside Down

Is it just my world, or does everything seem to be ass backwards lately? Last night I saw a Facebook post about Rhianna, and her singing on the great USA and its immigration polices. Granted, I did not watch the video or listen to the song (I have no speakers right now) but - and please correct me if I am wrong - the gist seems to be that she has likened herself to an immigrant of the same status of say a Mexican who swam across a river and risked getting shot in order to fulfill his apple pie dreams. It is my understanding that Rhianna was discovered, given a Visa, and flown to the USA, probably in 1st class. So yeah, unless I missed her point about immigration being hypocritical and that she is an exception, very far off from the rule, then she can eat gold covered shit.

Then there are all these videos of cops in the US clearly crossing some serious boundaries. Like, "hey dude, it's not cool to shoot a man in the back" kind of boundaries. Or beat the shit out of some horse rider after he surrenders, or.. you've seen them too so you know what I mean. But let's be real here, this shit has been going on for decades, the only difference now is that cell phones let us record it as proof.

All any of this does is make me glad that I don't live there. And that is saying a lot considering that I live in a country where it is a privilige to get running water every day for four hours.

On a micro scale, life in general is upside down. When you are nice and generous, people take advantage. When you are an evil bitch with no morals, the world is handed to you on a silver platter. It's a bit depressing at times. The reward of hard work and trying to do the right thing is less help, while those who lay in a hamaca all day with their hand out, get hand outs. We had a situation with my neice recently, who ran away from home a few years ago and is now what I would call a street kid. Her and her boyfriend got into some trouble, so we took them in. Here's a room, play on the computer all day, eat whatever you want, smoke as much as you want, and take 5 showers a day. You can go out 2 nights a week, (and here's some cash for your pocket) but not more than that. The last night she went out, she never came back. I guess it is more exciting to search for velas to eat at then it is to hang out here and have no worries. And yes, they stole a few things on the way out of the door.

It is actually a sad, yet funny story how she left. Everyone was here, and normal, when I went to take an afternoon nap in the hamaca. Woke up at 5 to find the ass drunk and aggravated. The kids were gone, but he told me that they would be back by 8, oh and BTW do you notice any food missing because she left with her bag full of stuff. Nope, no food is missing you dumb fuck, but all of their clothes are gone. Hope that beer was worth it. Oh and BTW, why I am missing $40, because drunk dummy loaned it to a friend. So a two hour nap cost me 40 bucks and a girl that I love like a daughter, not too mention the aggravation of having drunk dummy to deal with. Taught me not to get tired in the afternoon. (and to hide money in a better place)

And then there is the serviente, another one who got hit with the stupid stick one too many times. I say that because she does, and has for the 10 years I have known her, have an obvious crush on the drunk dummy. Please, by all means take him off of my hands. I will give you a raise if you can get him to go live with you. I am convinced that she is either fucking with me or she really is just an idiot. I admit, and have before, that I can be OCD about how things are put away in my house. But seriously? You can't tell when something is literally upside down? I just don't get it.

On a high note, Juanito is now 11, and we had a typical Salvadoran party to celebrate. The Neveria has this scrumptios M&M ice cream cake and yes, it has real chocolate candies inside, not that botenata crap. The pizza was good too, and since having helped my neice, I have re-established a good relationship with her grandma and aunt, who has a baby girl that I want to steal. They all came to the party with her two other kids, and Juanito could not have been happier. Thank God for that. And Grandma is going to put her name for me so that I can finally finance a new stove, as mine barely has one working burner left. This is why knowing how to cook with fire is a necessity in ES.

I leave with this final thought: Yes, the world is upside down, but rather than whine about, put on a helmet and stand on your head. That will turn things back the right way.

Hi Ho Hi Ho