Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Real Scoundrel!

I guess it was inevitable that one day Alexander wouldn't show up at the airport in Guatemala City. I called to tell him that I would be out front.  He said he would be right over and he never showed up.  I called him back and he told me that he was having car trouble.  I took an airport taxi, nice fellow, nice car, good driver, nice price.  Done!  No more Alexander.  However, as I write he has been telling anyone who would listen (and many who don't want to) that the car that I helped him "buy" had been stolen.  He has even offered up imaginary rope burns on his arms to try to prove that he had been tied up.  Funny they didn't take his cell phone, the most commonly stolen item in Guatemala.  He calls and calls and I tell him "not my problem, no more cars."  I don't believe for a minute that the car was stolen, rather it has been returned to the person he supposedly bought it from with my money because he was really renting it and didn't make his payments.  He is clever. He will find another sucker very soon.  That is all he knows, sadly.

Michelle participating in English

That brings up the dilemma of his youngest two children whom I am sponsoring to go to school.  A friend who lives here got wind of the fact that the mother borrowed Q2000 from me last year, signed a note and never paid the money back.  The word "loan" has a very different meaning in Guatemala.  I was always suspicious that Alex had put her up to it.  Today Nina and I went into the market where the mother works and, after asking several people, found her sister and then the mother herself.  Alex had told me that she was afraid of me because of the loan and wouldn't come near me.  Yet when she saw Tia Joan who is making it possible for her kids to go to school she smiled broadly and greeted me.  Hmmmm

Christopher learning important skills.

Nina, who has been in Guatemala long enough to know exactly what is going on, told Marielos that if she wanted her kids to continue in school that she would need to pay me Q1000 (US $130) before I leave in three days time.   I offered my phone number and she indicated that she had it.  I told her that I wanted to keep her kids in school but that we needed to clear up this matter of the debt.  No es corecto.

I feared that I would never see the money and would have to stop sponsoring her kids who are doing really well in their bi-lingual Montessori pre-school.  Much to my surprise about 6pm my phone rang and Marielos asked if it was OK to come by and pay me the money.  I told her "yes" and phoned the guards to tell them to let her and the children in.  I hear the voice of Nina cautioning me not to be too gullible but Marielos was extremely apologetic and told me that Alexander had told her that he had paid back the money last year.  She promised to return next month when I am next here to pay the remaining Q1000.

Michelle is happy that she gets to stay in school.

It was dark when she left to take the "chicken bus" back to her village where she lives in one room with her three children (yep, there is another one by some other guy).  Some of them work so hard and for so little.  I will listen to Nina and remain cautious but I am hopeful that this woman, like Estela, won't let me down.  One does wonder where Latin men got the idea that they are so wonderful.

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