Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Danger Lurking



It’s interesting what I have taken for granted when I lived in the states, to go out of my house and get in my car and drive to the store, or go for a walk or go to a restaurant by myself. Things are safe there and things are pleasant. Things are different here in Costa Rica. In recent days, there have been some incidents that have occurred that really brings me back to reality of where I am living. Scary and threatening to the point that I don’t even want to leave our apartment, even during the day. If I do go out, I am constantly on guard and uncomfortable. Before these recent events, I was naive, and almost blind to the fact that maybe, just maybe I am a target for disaster here. I am white as they come, and a women. I was caught off guard when we first moved here, as the tico men would stare at me like I was some kind of meat to devour. It made me nervous and even sick to my stomach. These events that I am about to discuss are exclusive and to ensure the privacy of the parties included, I will not use any names.

A couple weeks back, we have a close teacher friend who was with us at a birthday party in Jaco, which is a larger town close to where we live. Jonathan and I and our friend were coming back into town where we live in a taxi after a fun filled evening. We got dropped off at our apartment first because we were closer, and our friend was going to take the taxi back to his place. Jonathan and I woke up the next morning to hear the scariest news we have ever heard. Apparently our friend, who was going to take the taxi home, never got home that night! He stopped off at this restaurant to get some chicken, and decided to walk home which was over a mile away from the restaurant, at 2 or 3 in the morning. He was walking home, and this guy asked him for some money and drugs, and he said no. Then the guy beat our friend to a bloody pulp and stole his wallet and watch, and perhaps other items he had on him. He was left on the side of the road when the guy got scared off when a taxi driver showed up to investigate what was going on. Thankfully, our friend was not dead, but was in desperate need of medical attention. He got escorted to a medical facility in Jaco where we just came from, and was given these horrible stitches, and then they released him. He then walked to some teacher friend’s house in town, and stayed there for the night! To make a long story short, our friend got the proper care he needed and lost a front tooth and suffered from a lot of damage to his nose and eye. Praise God he is going to be all right though. This is just a prime example of how scary it is here. Another short example is another friend that is a teacher here was walking down the street in Jaco, I believe it was right after dark. This guy rides past her on his bike and stops right away and grabs her arm and tells her to go with him. Thankfully, there was tourist passing by and the guy freaked out and she was able to get away from him.

I can tell you one thing; I am not going out alone after dark! I will not be at risk. Though I am afraid, even during the day, this could happen. This past weekend we went to the city of San Jose, and Jonathan and I got some defense items. A large knife, some mace, and a beating weapon! We may be prepared, but I pray that we will never be put in situations where we have to use these. Never thought I would live in a place where I would feel so unsafe and feel so exposed like a target. I do know that fear has never done any good in my life. I just want to be safe, and be protected!

If you can, please pray for our safety and the safety of the other teachers here for the duration of our time here in Costa Rica.

Covered in safety…Amen!

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