So, after all the serious blogs I wrote, here is a funny story… It shows how much living in Guatemala has already changed us!
Last Tuesday we were supposed to pick up the next World Servants team from the airport. Since Phil and Sam were still not here, Megan and I were kind of in charge and we wanted to be fully prepared for the team to arrive. So, long before we had to go to the airport we had checked with the drivers what time they would be at the house, we fixed a breakfast just in time (because the kitchen ladies thought the group would arrive on Wednesday) and we kept checking the arrival times to make sure we would be in time. Dutch as we are, everything was carefully planned and we even made some early dinner to make sure we would be ready long before we had to leave for the airport. We were supposed to be picked up by the AMG drivers Jorge and Fredy with the big yellow, American schoolbus.
But… at 6:40pm someone rang our doorbell. Panic! Because we live in Guatemala City, we are not allowed to open the door for people we don’t know. So when we heard the sound of the doorbell, Megan and I looked at each other. Who could that be? We slowly made our way down the stairs to the door. There was an older man standing next to his car.
“Who is there?”
“It’s me, I am here to pick up the two muchachas.”
“Yeah, there is a group arriving tonight and I am the translator. I am looking for Megan and Mariela”
“Sorry, we don’t need a translator.”
“I work for AMG, I am a friend of Phil, Sam, Alex…”
“Sorry, I think you are at the wrong house.”
“No, Jorge send me here.”
“Do you have his number?”
“Yes, he just texted me.”
“Can you tell us his number?”
“Jorge told me to pick you up to go to the airport. What are your names then?”
*told him some weird names*
“Sorry, we don’t know you, we are not allowed to open the door.”
So, since the story about him being a translator was pretty weird and nobody had told us we were being picked up by a guy we didn’t know, we decided to call Ruth, the only person we could reach from the office.
“Ruth, there is a guy standing in front of our door and he says he works for AMG but we don’t know him.”
“What is his name?”
“We don’t know, he said something like Enrique. And he says he is the translator for Seño Mary.”
“I will call Mary to see if she knows him.”
While we were still on the line with Ruth, we heard Mary from Healthcare saying that she didn’t know anyone with that name, that she didn’t have a group and that that was the reason she didn’t need a translator.
“Well, girls, be careful. Don’t open the door, because he could have found your names on Facebook or something. If he doesn’t go away, you can call me and I will come to the house, okay?”
“Thank you Ruth, we will.”
But the guy didn’t leave. Even worse, he kept yelling at us. The longer he stood in front of our door, the more nervous we got. It might sounds like we really exaggerated, but when you live in Guatemala, you learn to trust nobody, how sad that might even sound. Even in a guarded neighborhood there are people ringing your doorbell that you don’t know. We even had the police at our door a couple of times. And salesmen, delivery guys… you never know if he can be trusted.
We kept standing at the other side of the door, firing questions at the guy on the other side. Why are you here again? How do you know our names? Are you sure you are at the right house? What was your name again?
With that last question we finally came a little closer. “My name is Juanis.”
Quickly we decided to throw the name in the Dutch-Whatsapp-Group with Phil, Sam and Ruth. After a few minutes we got an interesting reply. “I think it is Juanito, can you ask him?” So we got out of the house again and walked to the door. I even asked Megan if the guy had a gun… you never know. “Yes, my name is Juanito. Can you finally open the door now please?” Ruth offered to call Juanito to see if the stranger at the door would pick up the phone. He did.
“Girls, it is Juanito. The driver from AMG. He is here to pick you up to go to the airport, because Jorge didn’t want to pick you up with the big yellow bus. And he didn’t say traductor (translator), he said conductor (driver)… He was looking for Seño Mary as in Mariela. Please open the door for this poor guy.”
When we slowly opened the door we were so embarrassed that we didn’t even want to look at the guy. “You girls really didn’t recognize me?!” Uhm, no, sorry. We let our driver, our AMG colleague, wait for more than 20 minutes outside the gate while we asked him all kinds of questions, gave him our fake names and even tried to get rid off him by being slightly rude. We quickly jumped in the car with Juanito, who drove us all the way to Verbena where, of course, all the other drivers almost died of laughing. Apparently they all heard what happened to Juanito and also the people at the office got a chance to hear how ridiculously paranoid the two Dutch interns are.
“Were you scared?”, Jorge kept asking while he laughed at us. Fine, laugh at us, but at least we know how to keep ourselves safe.
One lesson learned: never open the door for strangers. Except for when they are called Juanito and drive a white, old car.