Friday, October 14, 2011

Letters from Jail

Today I received my second letter from Alex by way of Marielos.  As in the first he talks little about his predicament other than "excuse me for that which has happened."  Spanish speakers, even in jail, are ever so much more polite than gringos.  Surprisingly, he reminisces about places that we have been to before when he was a paid driver.  The restaurant by the lake in Panajachel, the boat ride (his first) on Lake Atitlan.  The times when I was angry with him (often) and the times that I gave him a hug.  In this latest letter he talks about how much he misses his children.  Tomorrow I am sending Estela's two oldest to the jail with Marielos and hope that I will survive Estela's wrath.  I told her today that the children need to see their father to decide how they are going to see him going forward.  I had hoped that my new driver,Vinicio, would be able to accompany Denis and Jackie but he has another commitment.  They are not allowed in without an adult.  In the morning I will explain to them that Vinicio cannot stay so I asked Marielos to go with them.  And I hope it works.  I think the presence of little Michelle will warm everyone up.

Estela and I had a good talk today.  She told me about an incident a couple of months ago when Jackie was unable to go to school for two weeks as there had been a threat against the director of the school.  When she returned to school Jackie was told not to wear her uniform for a period of time.  Estela asked me if things were the same in the US.  I told her that, never before in my life, had I known a person in jail.  I explained to her that (for the most part) the police were respected and that people tried to do the right thing and always tell the truth.  She was surprised to find out that people seldom got away with doing bad things to other people, that most people behaved and respected other people's rights.

I guess only time will tell whether Alex has really learned anything or not.  If he gets out there is nothing out there for him.  No job.  No car.  Nobody who is going to help him.  Perhaps he is better off where he is.  There is a roof ... just a roof.  He has to buy his food.  He has no money.  He has to buy clean water.  He has no money.  He has to pay three times the going rate to make a phone call to ask for food, water, clothes, shoes and money.  Marielos has no money.  Estela has no money.  Estela wouldn't give him any if she did have money.  Marielos gives him what she has and then her kids miss school because she doesn't have bus fare.  Where will it all end?

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