Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Leaving Antigua

This is the rainy season & it rains off & on most afternoons. Beginning around 8 or 9 p.m. it rains almost all night.

My room is in a simple addition to the main house. The addition has a wood roof covered by tin; the rain sounds like it does when you're camping. The walls are painted, as in white washed, in soft yellow.

One does not hand wash clothing as it would take days to dry. Often at night I've lain awake listening to the rain; occasionally going outside in the vernada to watch it late at night. Often after dinner & homework I lie in bed reading as there is little else to do. It's best to be in my around 9 p.m. You might recall that when I was in San Juan de Heredia in Costa Rica, one did not go out every alone. Ever!

Though I have not minded it, I started to feel last night like I'm ready to be done with camping in the rain - if you´ve had that experience.

The city itself is safe. There are tourist police with rifles on most corners. The tourist police go home around 9 or 9:30 p.m. All banks have their own guards with similar rifles. The guards on my way to school & I have developed a warm daily greeting. The federal or national police ride around in black jeeps. Creepy as it may sound, you get used to it. Everyone goes about their business. Sidewalks are very narrow. Surprisingly even though each street is cobblestone, it's fairly easy to negotiate.

Terms like banana republic seem insensitive, but on my hour walk around the city this morning, it occured to me that it refers more to the structure of a country: economic & political. People are people & actually the poor are most often gracious, helpful and giving.

So to me Mexico is perhaps a 3rd world country. Guatemala also, but in some senses a banana republic, keeping in mind the importance of being sensitive to the people & a wonderful culture.

I met a journalist who is working here for 6 months on a special project. He told me the government is like a Mafia monarchy.

¡Pobre Guatemaltecos!

No comments:


Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.