Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Juarez Reflection: Quiero Mi Ciudad en Paz!

This is a chat I had with a friend as the violence in Juarez heated up and our ministry began to fall apart.

Random – Hey!

Matt – ‘sup poopster? I am going to start calling you poopster

Random – Poopster? Matt? Really?

Matt – Yep. Just changed it in my phone!

Random – Little Jerk!

Matt – You are no longer “El Weenie”!

Random – Was it really “El Weenie?”

Matt – Yep, It always has been!

Random – you would. I didn’t know that!

Matt – We had a talk about this remember?

Random – uh huh.

Matt – Whatevs poopster!

Random – (sigh) oh gosh!...;/ How are things down thur?

Matt – Mexican –y… with Mexicans.

Random – you’re in a weird mood, aren’t you? I think I like it!

Matt – I guess. Today is my office day – I am a little loopy right now.

Random – haha! Nice! Office Day?

Matt – You know – we sit around and do blogs and finances and stuff. I don’t go to Juarez on Fridays

Random – where are y’all staying right now?

Matt – a church on this side…on our side.

Random - …how is it?

Matt – its cool – kind of stifling. We stay in the basement dorms. Its ok.

Random – mmmhmmm. How are your teammates?

Matt – cool. We don’t really have any major conflicts –we aren’t as “all across the board” as my team was last year.

Random – Is it safe to assume that’s a good thing?

Matt – mmm. Just different

Random – How’s Juarez?

Matt – Bloody. Like the Wild West.

Random – Really?

Matt – Yep. Here is a little taste:

Two weeks ago, a man was dropped off in front of the police station missing three appendages, burned beyond recognition, and a sign was posted basically saying that the cartels were going to do this to whoever got in their way. The main prosecutor for corruption in the police force, and the man who was promising protection for journalists in the cartel situation, was gunned down in broad daylight with a journalist in his car.

Random – I don’t even know what to say to that. Are you okay?

Matt – Yeah, its just nerve racking – there are a lot of folks who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Random – I would tell you to be careful, but it doesn’t even sound like there’s much you can do.

Matt- Some of our community members from site one are saying that the cartel members are going to their children’s schools to demand money from the teachers and if they don't pay they are going to start stealing kids. One kid was found in TJ (Tijuana) with acid injected into his veins.

What do we do when they tell rich American missionaries that if we don't pay, a child we love is going to die, or a mother is going to be executed or they are going to set fire to one of the churches we work for? What do we do when they demand injustice or our community will suffer?

Suddenly, we are responsible for the death or torture of a child in our community let alone what might happen to us - you know?

Random – I am still speechless

Matt - There was one guy that one of the interns was talking to who said that someone from the cartel came to his shop and demanded that he pay $5000 a month (well, the equivalent in pesos, anyway) from his earnings or they would execute him. He caught the guy on tape, identified him, took it to the police, and they told him they could do nothing about it. "Here are your options man, starve or...be killed!"

Random – I just can’t even imagine.

Matt – yeah, its just way beyond some of the petty nonsense we had to deal with last year.

Random – Yeah, I’d say.

Matt - I saw A---'s son the other day on the street, and I just prayed he didn't recognize me, because we are pretty sure he is the one who coordinated breaking into our house when it was ransacked a couple months back. That is why we decided to leave – you know?

Random – really? Oh, wow!

Matt - In that neighborhood - the police have told us they won't even show up for a call until 45 min later - they just don't want to deal with it. there is no consequence, no justice, if A--- Jr. were to just go on a rampage you know?

Random – It just makes me sick

Matt - yeah, it churns my stomach pretty much every day. I was convinced I was getting an ulcer over it last week my stomach hurt so bad

Random - oh Matt...
I just really don’t even know what to say.

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