miércoles, 22 de junio de 2016

Smooth Craziness


JD jumping into our future "pool" or maybe cistern, mainly dug by Junior and Enelbi.

Sometimes so much happens in 24 hours that I think, "I have to share this day." I can't share everything that goes on all of the time and it would take dialogue with someone to answer questions to bring them up to speed, but sharing the events of a day can give some insight. 

I am adding this sentence in after having finished the post. It has occured to me that some of the boys would be upset with me sharing this. However, they would also understand that Project Esperanza is supported by sponsors and people need to know what is going on. At the same time, it's probably not necessary that I always share so much detail and people have advised that I share more positive stories as well. Well some blog posts are more positive like my last one about the talking to for Junior. Junior finished the school year strong after that. And I don't see this one as necessarily negative.. fighting did occur, but really no one was seriously hurt. I guess we can see it as some intense sibling rivalry? But also as a situation that is very hard.. hard to help people. We can also see this as why foster care is better than living in an institution or group home, but a group home can still be a family, just maybe a more challenging one. It's all challenging...

Yesterday we had a clinic in PG with Team Helping Hands and found out that woman I had a bed set aside for because she has an almost two year old who is developmentally behind and just had another baby. She is very young and has on family support from fathers or her own father who is in the area, etc. I kept planning to bring ht ebed to her and visit her but have been too busy. so I just found out that she left the almost two year old and the newborn with a neighbor woman who I have known for years. Team Helping Hands gave her some supplies and I went with her to the pharmacy to get some milk. She says she is trying to get the mom to come. I said tell her to please do so and I'll spend more time with her teachingher art stuff to sell int he shop. And if she can't raise the boys, we'll go together to CONANI so they can be put up for adoption. Anyway, I share this to say, it is much easier in many ways to help little kids and woman than teenage boys. As you'll read some examples of if you read through this post. 

In conclusion, I hope that no one mentions to these boys these stories in any way that would embarrass them but that this is only used for collaboration in helping to raise them up.

It's not that I have time to write, but I just want to record it while it's fresh. I am preparing to do a Community Property midterm and will resume after I write this. Apologies that I didn't finish the NEVER a Dull Moment updates... I told about Nelson busting my car windows, Jean Donald biting Kendy's ear, and Kendy's neighbors coming after Jean Donald with a knife in hopes of getting paid off in exchange for not hurting him.


Restraining order
Well, Nelson apparently got into the excitement and decided that Kendy was his friend who he needed to defend too. As we packed up my car to move beds to Munoz for spring breakers one night in early March (I think the day after I wrote the first post), he opened the car door and exposed a long knife. I saw him, stepped on the gas, and he actually ran after the car with the knife. Jean Donald was in the back seat and he was apparently going after him. Long story short, he was arrested and I now have a restraining order. He is ordered to pay 500 pesos a week until he pays 10,000 pesos for the car damage but has not paid any yet. The judge said if he does anything else he'll go to jail and the key will be thrown away. So he has not done anything else since then, thankfully. 

I will say that I saw some interesting things in the court system going through this process. That's another story, of course.

So, we built on the land that was purchased a few years ago for the group home. The landlord of the green house we rented did not want to rent to us anymore so we had until April 21st to move out. We built simple wooden structures as quickly and inexpensively as possible. The boys helped one man build it for the most part. We also built a house for house parents, where my family is currently living, but we probably won't live there forever. You'll understand why after reading this post. We would like to live nearby, however, and have local house parents stay there. We have one compost toilet for everyone. We don't have any running water yet. We are trying to get a well. Our neighors were nice enough to let us hook onto their electricity as the electric company says that we are too far off the grid. It's strange because our neighbors have contracts, but we haven't been able to resolve that yet either. Here is a video, although things have developed more since then.

Ezayi oversees a lot at the group home but it's still a work in progress. He's very passive and sets a good example in many ways, but they don't really have any fear of him. Jeres, they do fear, but he's not as good of a communicator as Ezayi. And Willy is great to have around still. Everyone together makes a good team, but we're still in training, I would say.   

Since vacation started, I have talked to Ezayi about making sure he spends 40 hours a week at the house like it says in his contract as I thought he was slipping up on that. The past two days I have noticed that he has left before 3pm and not come back until around 9pm. I envisioned him going home at lunch and coming back until later in the afternoon but haven't shared that with him yet, as we are just getting the summer schedule down. 

Last night I got home with the kids around 8:30 or 9pm. Enelbi and Willy both were at the car, helping us enter the house when we arrived. Junior and Jean Donald approached the house. Pretty soon everyone was at our door as I opened it and I said, "No one's coming inside." Willy shared that Enelbi had driven his moto and damaged a part that was quite expensive. Jean Donald shared that while everyone was sitting around, someone had taken his card from the colmado where the woman writes down the purchases he makes which she substracts from his account, and he wasn't sure who had it but whoever it is was going to pay him back for anything they took. Carlo and Ivenson reported that Jean Donald had thrown dirt in their cornflakes. Jean Donald defended that he paid for the cornflakes. They acted as though he did not, or they weren't satisfied. This is all the information I was taking in as I got the kids out of the car and into the house, opened the lock, and entered. Junior said, "Shut the door! Just shut the door!" and helped me to do so from the outside. And I did. I shut the door and shut everyone out.

Willy came to the other door shortly thereafter to talk about how Enelbi would pay him back and he could fix his moto. Now, I never wanted Willy to have a motorcycle but that is the job he felt as though he could do. He always says he will sell it and do other work and has not. Although now he is helping Jeres and another guy finish the floors at the school in Padre Granero. 

As we were talking, Jean Donald came up and said that Carlo or Ivenson had hit him and he saw Carlo give Ivenson a machete. He stayed with us a bit and I asked Willy to go down to their house with him and take care of things.  As they went, I watched out the back door. I also asked Willy where the drill was and he said it was under his bed. He went to look under his bed and came back calling to me to come see the poop that Jean Donald had put on Carlo's bed. 

Is this ridiculous or what? I didn't go. I had just come home and didn't want to go down and see poop Jean Donald had put on Carlo's  bed. We have a human compost toilet where you dump out a bucket of decomposing poop into a barrel where it decomposes more so it was a bucket almost all the way full of decomposing poop. 

Willy and others kept telling me to come look and I did not. I asked where the drill was. Then I saw Ezayi showed up and told me that he had come a different way because on the further end of the house they were throwing rocks. Wait a second? This is why writing things out is good. The man responsible for overseeing the home did not stop the rock throwing but decided to go another way? I already had a list of things to address with him... it's been really hard to find someone to fit in this role. We'll see. Anyway, as we stood there, I saw three boys come running from the end of the house where he said rocks were being thrown. But I was confused because Jean Donald was not there. He was with Willy at the boys' house. Ezayi went down there and started talking with them. 

Then Ivenson appeared by my side. I don't even know where he came from, really. I thought he was one of the boys running on the other end of the property. Maybe he was. Anyway, he talked innocently and told me that Jean Donald thought that he hit him but he had not. I said, "Jean Donald says you have a machete." He said, "No, I don't have a machete." 

Moments later, without either of us having said anything else, Jean Donald appeared. Ivenson stepped back and pulled out a machete from his pants like a true sword fighter. I had Wevli in my arms. Oh, who is Wevli? He's an almost two year old who is developmentally behind because he was starved during his first year. My friend Wendy took him in and nursed him back to health and then we took him from her as she is past the mothering age but she still is in his life. Of course there is more to that story, but he has been with us for almost six months now. I grabbed Jean Donald's arm and told him to go in my house. (Trying to separate the fight.) He stood there and held something in his hand too. Others came up and I guess Ivenson ran off. I passed Wevli to Yenilove, told her to shut the door, and ran after Ivenson. He ran as I came after him and I told him to give me the machete. He held it out behind him and passed it to me like a baton. I grabbed the handle and then swung it at him. He ran faster and said, "I'm not living here anymore". I ran faster and he got away. Then Carlo came running behind him, I swung at him too, and he ran away with Ivenson. I didn't plan on actually hitting them. If I did, I would've done it with the flat part of the machete, but I know I'm not good enough for that either.

More afterthoughts. Am I crazy? Running with a machete is very dangerous. If only you knew the crazy things I have done here. I once rode on a scooter from Los Dominguez to Maimon without brakes. But on this occasion, I just wanted to show them they couldn't get away with that. 

Went back to where Jean Donald, Ezayi, Willy, and everyone else was (except Lorenzo who hadn't come home yet), and saw that Jean Donald had been cut on the head. Carlo hit him with a stick. This happened when I saw the three boys running and then Ivenson appeared by my side.

Within minutes, a scooter shined lights into the yard. Everyone went down. I was looking at the poop filled bed and wondering if Carlo and Ivenson would come back soon or someone would have to go talk to them. Then they called me over. It was our neighbor Wilson who is really nice. He gave a great talk. He had ran into Carlo and Ivenson in the road with sticks and come to see what had happened. They showed up in the yard after he arrived and were there for the talk. 

Most of the blame was put on Jean Donald because he first heard about the poop on the bed. I don't know what a reader of this story would think of that and who is most to blame for the madness. When Jeres came and heard about it, he defended Jean Donald a bit and said that others were picking on him. But Jean Donald definitely is problematic. Carlo is too, but less than Jean Donald I would say. Carlo also has an extremely sweet side. The issue is that Ivenson is Carlo's side kick and will normally do what Carlo tells him to. In Jean Donald's defense, he did not intentionally throw dirt in their cornflakes and did pay them for it, but was trying to throw dirt at Enelbi who was instigating things.

Anyway, Wilson stood by Jean Donald as he cleaned the room. At one point, he threw some on Willy and Willy chased him all around the property. When Lorenzo showed up, he reported that JD had taken food out of his locker. Before it was all said and done, after both Ezayi and Wilson had left, JD did receive some belt slaps under my supervision.   

It was about midnight when I went inside. Yenilove was the only one still awake but then went to sleep. In the middle of the night, Wevli woke up and cried a bit. He had been feverish that day. We just had one bag of water and no milk. I barely slept all night. I rubbed his warm back and he fell back asleep, but seemed to wake back up when I stopped. In the morning, I got him milk. He ate before he went to bed but had the fight not gone on, I would've bought more water and milk before the stores closed. 

So this morning, Jeres, Willy, and the other guy went to work at the school. I got going with the kids a little later around 9am. As I drove up puente seco, I smelt gas and the car started to jerk. I was surprised the propane gas was already running out. There is no guage other than one on the actual tank you have to get out and look at. I thought that if we could make it to the top of the hill, we could probably roll most of the way to the nearest gas station. A new propane station was put in near Padre Granero. Otherwise, we would've had to go to Munoz and there would be no way we could make it. 

We made it up the hill and at the hospital, got the stoplight just as it was turning red. I knew if we stopped we would lose momentum so I decided to go. The motos who like to zoom before their light turns green got mad about that. I heard one yell, "Oye, gringa, blah blah". I held my hand out of my broken window in a "stop and excuse me" manner and said, "The gas ran out!" as we rolled through the intersection. 

We made it past the roundabout and entrance to Padre Granero and as we rolled by Deposito Ferreteria, the car turned off. Yenilove and I called out to a moto concho and he came after us. We now had to stop at a stoplight, where he caught up to us. I stuck my head out the window to yell back and asked him to push the car to the gas station but didn't have to finish the phrase. His foot was already on the back bumper and he nodded that he knew what was going on.

Just a few blocks further and we rolled into the gas station. Yenilove and I celebrated. That was awesome! Smooth craziness.  

Here is the little boy, Likenson, whose mom has taken off. His little brother looks a lot like him. He has some mental issues, but his baby brother is fine.