Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Same Problems...Different World

Today, was one of the toughest days to grasp. This morning felt very weird. One of my co-workers was wondering how dangerous it is for us to go the same route. It is particularly dangerous for us, because if someone wanted to rob a bus full of "rich" teachers, they can easily map out or daily course and go for it. I had asked people before if kidnapping was common here and about the mass robberies, but I was assured that it wouldn't happen to "us". A few weeks ago, I watched the movie Proof of Life with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe. The movie was set in a ficticious country where this sort of thing happens (although Ecuador was the movie set setting...as a matter of fact, it was the street a block away from my apartment). It was a very sad situation and it hurts when you know that it happens and it has happened in the past.

It couldn't have been worse than the feeling of shock, helplessness, and sadness that we felt today. One of the other "rich schools" has a kidnapping this morning. They took him right off the bus. In front of the driver and other students. This boy is 12 years old! Most often, the kidnapped victims are young men, who can withstand whatever they choose to do with them. But, this....is sad. How horrible for him, the other student's who saw and probably won't feel comfortable on a bus again, his parents, his friends...the list goes on, including me, who woke up this morning with a funny feeling and now wrestling with the fact that although I know that kidnapping occurs....the motive behind it is horrible.

We hear about kidnappings in the US. Dad wants kids or Mom wants to keep custody. You hear Amber Alerts and unfortunately, you get to a point where you don't cry anymore. This boy was kidnapped because his parents have money or maybe they crossed someone. This boy may lose his life because someone wants money. Someone finally told me the truth. "Honestly, you may see a little more robbery and situations similar because of the holidays".

The country is on both ends of the spectrum. The gap is SO HUGE. You have the rich of the rich and the poor of the poor. It is hard to see a little girl or boy sleeping on the street and their parents can't afford the $5 to go to school and then look at the boys and girls who have cars before they are 16 and you can't get a license until you're 18. Different from mothers who work all night on the street feeding their children and selling fruit to the mothers who have never worked or don't need to cook and clean.

Today, I was saddened. Although, I do not know this boy. He is family to so many of the families at my school and that I teach. It was sad to see these cousins and friends who were overcome with fear. Parents who take their children out of school because they know it could have easily been them. For some, like me, this is scary, but for others this is life.

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