Guatemala Santa Rosa

I got robbed

I am writing this blogpost with tears in my eyes. I am so extremely exhausted from the past three days that I can’t even think clearly anymore. I almost lost everything I have and I don’t really know what to do anymore. Here’s what happened.

This Monday I was super excited to visit an AMG center in Oratorio, Santa Rosa, with almost the entire Wilson family (missionaries from the United States) a.k.a Phil, Jenn, Karen, Claire, Anna, Cabot and little Mimi, Sam and Hannah. I really looked forward to this day because I could finally learn more about the different centers of AMG and because I love travelling through the country. The family picked me up around 9am at the gas station just outside the gates of my colonia, my guarded neighborhood. They had a mini van so there was enough space for all ten of us. Oratorio is a small village close to the border with El Salvador and it took us about two hours to get there. We went there to visit some sponsor kids of Jenn’s sister Karen. The school was very pretty and I took AMG’s camera with me to take some pictures. After meeting the sponsor kids we played some football with them. It was so incredibly hot and humid that we were all drenched in no time. But we had fun!

Playing a nice game of football with some sponsor kids in the extremely hot and humid air of Oratorio, Santa Rosa.

After visiting the school we went to two houses of the sponsor kids to see where they live and to meet their families. The contrast between the city and the houses in the rural areas is huge so it was strange to realize that this was a part of Guatemala too. Because we didn’t want to get stuck in traffic, we didn’t stay very long. We were all very hungry and someone suggested to have lunch together at a Sarita restaurant, where they have amazing food! Phil parked the van in a ‘safe’ place with three guards ‘guarding’ about four cars. Everybody left their bags in the car and so did I. We had a great lunch and I really loved spending time with the Wilson family, Sam and Hannah.

It was a really warm day and there was some rain coming our way, so after getting a chocolate milkshake we got back into the van. Only five minutes after that I discovered that my bags weren’t there anymore. STOP THE CAR! Everybody got out to search for my bags but they were gone. Gone. For some reason I did not freak out at all but maybe that was because I couldn’t believe what just happened to me. I was also too scared to tell the family what was in my backpack because I felt so incredibly stupid for bringing that all with me and leaving it unattended. But yeah, let’s be honest. I lost my passport, my laptop, AMG’s camera, my powerbank, my creditcard, my normal card, my brother’s waterbottle, my earphones, my backpack, my SD-cards, the chargers for my laptop and my phone, my sunglasses and a bag of really valuable drop. The only things I didn’t lose were my phone and my clothes at home. You might read this and think ‘why on earth did she bring that?!’ and you are right. I don’t have an answer for you.

I knew about the crimes in Guatemala, I knew that there are a lot of thiefs breaking into cars, I knew that I should never carry my passport and my creditcard with me. I feel extremely stupid but there is nothing I can do about it anymore. It happened and I have to accept it and move on. Right after I discovered I basically lost all I had, I called my dad in the middle of the night to block all of my cards. Thank God the thiefs didn’t steal any money from me.

I feel so blessed that it happened while I was with the Wilson family and with Sam and Hannah because without them I would definitely have freaked out really bad. They immediately went to the guards to ask them why people could break the lock on our car and steal my stuff while they were supposed to guard the van. That is what guards do, right? Guards have to, you know… guard. That’s one important thing I’ve learned. Guards can not be trusted here. Phil even went to the car three times during lunch and the car was parked right in front of the restaurant, so people must have seen it. But nobody saw anything’. Phil got a list of all the license plates but I honestly don’t think I will ever find my things again.

On the way home the tears came. What am I supposed to do now? What is a media intern without a camera and a laptop? How I am going to travel without a passport? How am I going to tell Gary I lost a super expensive camera? I still didn’t panick because somehow I got the feeling that it was meant to be for me to lose all of my valuable belongings. I just felt really stupid and guilty.

But I didn’t lose my life. It could have been a lot worse if I was in the car during the robbery. I knew in my heart that God was teaching me a valuable lesson: the people around me are so much more important than the things I lost. Things can be replaced, people can’t. Jenn offered me her phone to call home, Sam was so sweet to call Gary because I was too scared to do it myself and the entire family asked me if I wanted to stay at their house for the night to get myself back together. I felt so safe with the family that I didn’t want to leave them. On the ride home I already started to feel better. Especially when we got stuck in the most horrible traffic I’ve ever seen and we had to change Mimi’s diaper. In the back of a moving mini van, changing a really smelly diaper of a really tired 3-year-old girl while trying not to get the van (and people) covered in poop. Anna quickly tackled the diaper situation, while Cabot and I tried to keep Mimi as calm as possible and Sam got rid of the diaper and all of the smelly baby wipes. Nor the van, nor we, got out unharmed. The poop was everywhere. The situation was so funny that, for a while, I forgot about what just happened.

Due to traffic it took us four hours to get to the house. We were all so tired and hungry but we had a great day. Even though I got robbed. It was so weird to step out of the van with only the clothes I was wearing and my phone. But I was happy and thankful that the Wilson’s accepted me into their home. They have such a beautiful house with a huge garden and two happy dogs, a guinea pig and little birds. They are so loving that I still wonder what I did to deserve their kindness. Jenn, Phil and Sam cooked a delicious meal with rice, chicken and vegetables and while the rice was boiling, we played a really funny game called Pass the Pig: you have two little plastic pig and you throw them like a dice. The position in which the pigs end, determines the amount of points you get. Does one end up on his back and the other one on his feet? 20 points! You can chose to throw them again to get more points, but if they end up in the same position.. you lose all of your points. Phil won this time, but next time I will beat him for sure.

We got home around 9pm so after dinner it was time for us all to call it a night. Hannah was so kind to share her room, bathroom and clothes with me and I could not have asked for anything more. Although I couldn’t sleep at all that night, I knew that everything was going to be fine. I lost everything but I received an entire new family. God is good, always.

A really big THANK YOU to Jenn, Karen, Phil, Claire, Anna, Cabot, Sam, Hannah, Gary and everybody at AMG for everything they did for me. Although they say it wasn’t a big deal to them… it was to me and to my parents. Also a big THANK YOU to everybody at home and in Guatemala who has sent me a message to support me. It all means a lot to me.

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  • Reply
    30 April 2017 at 15:22

    Hoi, Mariëlle ,

    Wat een heftige gebeurtenis. Prima dat je het als leerervaring of levensbeschouwing ziet, maar dat neemt niet weg dat de schrik er goed in gezeten zal hebben. Ik hoop dat je er geen verdere ellende van hebt. Maar goed, nieuwe spullen regelen zal ook wel een dingetje zijn. Pas goed op jezelf. Rob S. te G.

    • Reply
      30 April 2017 at 16:21

      Levensbeschouwing = levenservaring

    • Reply
      6 May 2017 at 22:03

      Hallo oom!
      Het was inderdaad nogal heftig, maar inmiddels gaat alles weer helemaal de goede kant op. Omdat ik zo lang zonder laptop en camera zat, begint deze week mijn stage pas echt! Gister ben ik naar het Nederlandse consulaat geweest hier in de stad om mijn noodpaspoort te regelen. Tot mijn grote verbazing bevond het consulaat zich boven een kaasfabriek waar ze ‘echte’ Goudse kaas maakten! Heerlijk om weer even de Hollandse kaaslucht op te snuiven! Ik zal heel goed op mezelf blijven passen en ik geniet enorm. Bedankt voor uw berichtje!

      Liefs uit Guatemala,

  • Reply
    30 April 2017 at 17:05

    Oh, Marielle! Ik hoorde vanmiddag van Ron wat er gebeurde en lees het nu hier.
    Sterkte en je hebt nu geleerd wat ‘loslaten’ is. Moeilijk hoor, maar leren is vaak moeilijk!
    Zegen op je werk en studie daar!! Hartelijke groet van Ims Zwart

    • Reply
      6 May 2017 at 21:56

      Hoi Ims! Ik heb inderdaad al heel veel geleerd van deze gebeurtenis, maar inmiddels ben ik twee weken verder en zou ik het al bijna vergeten zijn als ik niet zo verschrikkelijk afhankelijk was van anderen… Gelukkig is bijna alles weer terug bij het oude! Mijn laptop arriveert hier na het weekend, net als een nieuwe camera. Mijn ouders komen halverwege juni deze kant op met alles wat ik voor de rest nog nodig heb, dus ik kan eindelijk loslaten wat er is gebeurd en weer vrolijk verder gaan met mijn geweldige werk hier! Ik geniet echt enorm, nog steeds.

      Liefs uit San Cristóbal,

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