Unfortunately yesterday I couldn’t finish the second part of this update. The electricity died.
Anyway, as you can see from the title, I was robbed. As anyone can imagine it’s not a wonderful experience, but I survived.
I will start with the day itself, because it wasn’t a totally awful. I went to Casa Alianza to meet people from Convent House (which is Casa Alianza’s parent charity, based in USA and Canada), present the book I’ve written and also write a small memorial for Juan Daniel Salgado, who was murdered earlier this year and I interviewed for the book. I wrote the memorial in English and Spanish and gave a copy to Juan Daniel’s sister. I will actually include a copy of the memorial in the next update. I think it would be good to give you a flavour for the book and a sense of the atmosphere in Casa Alianza. It was nice to give his sister, Jakelin, some closure after suffering an awful, awful last nine months. I know her well. She still lives in Casa Alianza and is a really nice person.
On the way home in the taxi, I have the feel-good adrenaline buzzing around my head, and in a slightly magical way, I felt Danny was looking down upon me and saying thank you. It may seem sickly proud and self-righteous what I am writing now, but I’m just speaking honestly. I felt proud of myself.
I had to stop off at Mall Cascadas to buy some essentials at the supermarket. Dusk was settling and I knew I was risking it a little bit. I then walked back along a short stretch of the Fuerzas Armadas highway to get to my apartment which I knew what I was doing was dodgy and plain foolish. Out of nowhere, I felt a hand grab my arm from behind, I turned to see who it was but then I had my head pushed away so I couldn’t see their faces. I knew actually what was going to happen. They couldn’t have been older than 20 and I felt I could have clonked the two of them quite easily, but because of the frequent use of guns or knives, I felt I better not. The two of them pushed me off the path and forced me to lie down while they went through my pockets and bags. It seems that I was lying on a great fucking ants nest because my stomach and arms were covered in sores after and they’re still itchy as fuck. I found it quite funny that they had problems going through my pockets, which were very deep in the trousers I was wearing. They stunk of alcohol and drugs. Every time I moved my head, they thumped me. Not hard, but it was a warning. They kept muttering things in my ear but I had no clue what they were saying. I chose wisely not to ask or fight it and just waited until it ended. It felt like four hours, but the whole thing must have lasted 4 minutes. They then made off. When they went, I checked through my pockets to see what they had taken. My phone (which they won’t have made much from – it did only the very basics (it still pisses me off even more, because I lost all my contacts)), my wallet (which had my Visa card, an invalid residency card and about 500 lempiras – 17 quid), my camera (which had lots of photos of the kids from Casa Alianza that I’d taken that day), my USB and a bag of food, which included a bag of pasta, a tin of tuna, some tortillas, some pasta sauce, a bag of pop-corn and some air-freshner. They also broke my strawberry yogurt carton (bastards). They must have been shit alcoholics to have to have missed my six-pack of Barena beer though
I got back to the apartment, cancelled my Visa Card, then called Pam via Skype, who then routinely called my phone, they picked up and she called them hijos de puta and she threatened to kill them. At this stage, I didn’t know if I should be scared of Pam or extremely turned on, in a freaky kind of way. She was being a brilliant girlfriend though. That was certain.
I also sent my phone a message. I didn’t threaten anything. I just hope that they sort out their problems, get themselves together, stop mugging innocent people and find peace in their lives. A bit innocent maybe, but there is no point in being angry. You just have to learn from these experiences and pay the odds to get a taxi, even if it’s a short distance. This country is the way it is. I have worked with people from the street. They have told me the things they got up to, to feed habits or whatever. I always felt a bit susceptible from it all, that it will never happen to me. I’m glad I’ve overcome this arrogance.
Today I was back in Casa Alianza to celebrate the anniversary properly. It was good. It reconfirmed that not all street kids are bad.
One thing was very nice to see. Just before Christmas, I was attacked by a kid called Ariel who was high on Resistol. It wasn’t a bad attack, but it was in Casa Alianza. I saw him today, with weight, with a family, with a smile, and off drugs. It is an amazing transformation. I’m dead proud of him.
Last year I also updated a post about a lad who saw his father murder his mother. He was an angry kid, he had problems with drugs and was quite aggressive. He was now training to be a mechanic, learning English and full of hope. Again, I’m really pleased for him. He’s worked hard to change his life around.