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Apparently to the rest of the world, this is an outdated toy, but I found one brand new online for $80.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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pupusa Filled Utopia?

There has been some conversation between myself and an elite group of friends recently about El Salvador, misconceptions and how they come to be. (RG this has nothing to do with your recent lunch, just a coincidence that it comes up at the same time). So in this conversation we talked about those things that set people who have actually spent real time in ES and those who think that they have because they read a book or went to Cancun for Spring Break 15 years ago. I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but El Salvador is not in Mexico, they don't even share a border. The following is a list compiled of real life events that go on in this country of over 6 million people, and extends way past the borders of the capital city.
You Haven't Really Been to El Salvador Until....

  • The thought of eating one more pupusa for breakfast makes you want to vomit
  • You have taken a shower by throwing small buckets of water over your head and hoping for the best
  • You have walked in the dark, outside, to go to the bathroom at night
  • You have been so scared to walk in the dark, outside to go to the bathroom that you just do your thing outside the back door (or in a small pot) and hope no one notices
  • You are doing your business outside in the dark and realize there is a huge frog under your ass
  • You worry about rats digging through the bathroom garbage and pulling out used feminine hygiene products (trying not to be too graphic here)
  • You have manually flushed a toilet by throwing buckets of water in it
  • You have washed your own clothes by hand 
  • You have been followed by a group of thugs trying to figure out if you are a gringa or just look like one
  • Someone has given you a block of cheese to eat that tastes like a dirty sock, but you have to eat it anyway or appear rude
  • You have been charged 2 dollars for a bag of fruit that a Salvadoran would only pay a dollar for
  • You have spent a night fighting off mosquitos instead of sleeping
  • You have been woken up in the middle of the night by a bat banging into the wall over your bed
  • You have encountered a group of women who look at you like you're the devil while they toss their hair and chat up your husband
  • You have ridden in the back of a pick up truck on a dirt road not fit for a cow to walk on
  • You fear drinking the water that comes out of the spigot
  • You have visited a home where they still have no electricity
  • You have given money to a person who doesn't even own a pair of shoes
  • You have seen people having to "borrow" water from a neighbor with a well
  • You have been attacked by an army of biting ants
  • You have seen or been bitten by a scorpion
  • You have been asked to speak in English just so people can hear how it sounds
  • You have eaten a mango (or any fruit) picked right off a tree in front of you
  • A group of scrawny street dogs has made you fear for your life
  • You have seen (been a part of) 6 or more people sleeping in one small room
  • You have taken a nap in a hamaca
  • Seen a shoeless child standing next to a mom on a smart phone
  • Seen helmeted motorcycle drivers carrying babies 
  • You can fully understand the desire to go and live in the United States
I am sure that there are many more, but I am trying to keep the mind of the casual visitor, like a week or two, not of someone who has spent so much time here that most of this stuff just seems common place now. Or those things that you need to be here for a while to experience, like the threat of extortion. It's a vast country, and mostly extremely poor where even propane to cook on is too expensive for some.
In my humble opinion it is up to people like me to keep reminding others of that, as many Americans question that drive to immigrate and are so quick to send thousands of small children back without a thought. By not addressing it, we make it seem like a pupusa filled Utopia, where everyone here has the same opportunities and access to the same advantages that those in the US have.
Feel free to share your own "I am not in Kansas anymore moment" in comments. I know I missed a bunch.
Hi Ho Hi Ho

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mango Heaven

It's finally here. Christmas in El Salvador, or as some say mango season. This is also the first year that the tree we planted  6 years ago (holy shit, that's a long time in hell) has finally yeilded fruit. Too much in fact if that's even possible.

Long sticks are holding branching in place, otherwise they hang so low you can't get out the kitchen door. Still, my hair keeps getting tied up in the twigs. But my teeth feel really clean and my fruit buying budget is on hold since we have enough of our own to last us weeks. Yes, sometimes all it takes is a look out your bedroom window to find a redeeming element in this lovely country.
Hi Ho Hi Ho, (after I finish eating this mango)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Meet Mary

I believe I mentioned that we have some new 2-legged and 4-legged freinds in the house. BTW, turns out the chicken is a rooster, so if anyone has a hankering for some pollo indio for dinner look me up. I am not fond of chickens, but roosters and their friggin' cock a doodle dooing really ruffles my feathers. So yeah, he needs a new home.
I have discovered the name of our other little pet, surprisingly thanks to Sheldon. Yes, in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon is enlightening his buddies on the attributes of the biggest rodent known to man. And as I listened I realized that they all sounded very similar to my new brown-haired friend. So friends, I introduce you to my Capybara or watooso sp? as they call it here in the armpit:

And that's Mary, who my son has taken a liking too. I have since learned that these are more aquatic then land animals, can be very friendly and can grow to over 100 pounds. I had to do some research when we lost her for a day.
She roams in the house, and for obvious reasons is not fond of the cat, although that will change once she approaches the 10 pound mark I am sure. But if she roams in the house and gets nervous, she will go into the corridor, and twice we have found her outside hiding behind the lemon tree.
So one day Juanito makes it home from the school and his burning question is where is Mary?. We look under beds and in the garden and behind the leña and everywhere else. No Mary.
This is where I did my research and found out that they like to be in water. So I grabbed the matata sp? and off we strode to the nearest quebrada to see if Mary had found a new home. Nope, she wasn't there.
So we had tears and blame for hours, as my son mourned the loss of his sorta furry new friend. And then, as if nothing had happened, she comes scuttering out from under his bed, straight to the garden to forage for food.
So yes, we still have Mary who one day will be the size of a baby hippo. Happy happy, joy joy.
Hi Ho Hi Ho