Sunday, December 20, 2009

Intense moments on a Saturday night

I have been trying to be more cool lately when I am around my neighbors. I have taught a few of them some cuss words and keep telling them I am going to drink with them. The big night is supposed to be Christmas eve but they wanted to get started a little earlier and were drinking in the afternoon yesterday. They wanted me to hang out but I had some things to do. Instead I showed up a few hours later when it was dark and I figured I would have a drink with them. When I got to the colmado everyone there was practically on the floor drunk and it was extremely uncomfortable. I was handed a cup of something to "drink" and it was a plastic cup filled with cheap rum, this is not anything different than usual. The real intense thing that happened was one of the little muchachos wandered up completely intoxicated and barely able to stand. He was drooling, crying and almost falling down as he stood there. I immediately put down my drink of straight rum and started the interrogation. "Who gave this to you?" I asked him. He responded with "some guy." I was blown away with the fact that this 6 year old not only was willing to take candy from strangers but also cups of rum. After further interrogation it came out that he had drank two cups of rum and was ready to vomit (of course). I didn't look very "cool" to the neighbors because I grabbed him by his right arm (a la Joel Alex) and started carrying him back to his house. He was crying saying that he didn't want to go back to his house because his mom was going to be mad. I told him that it didn't really matter to me, he shouldn't be drinking and it gives developing minds brain damage (which I don't think registered for him or anyone else I told that night, but I was pissed because that drinking probably undid the last two weeks I have spent trying to teach him the damn alphabet). I ran into his 13 year old cousin and told her to bring him to his mom. I went back to the colmado to try to explain why I flipped out about there being a drunk child hanging out with them but before I could the little kid wandered back to the colmado. I grabbed him again and brought him back. That was the end of my night at the colmado, I went in and sat down with my two friends who I was relieved to see were completely sober. I was also relieved to find out that they agreed with me that it is completely inappropriate for a child to be in that condition. I was even impressed that my friend told me that he knew in the states a child would be removed from a family where this type of thing happened. Yeah, that and about 25 other things that we see on a daily basis. The kid ended up wandering into the house where we were watching Animal Planet or Discovery channel (yes my barrio gets the Premium package for cable) and started babbling about who gave him the rum. My neighbors told me they were going to talk to the guy who did it, I guess that's about all that can be done I thought. We sat and talked about the situation and how bad it is that the police never come into the barrio to actually punish the guys doing this. That's life, the neighbor told me, some people get it all and some don't, and we are on the end that don't (when he said "we" I am pretty sure he was not including me, I am pretty sure I am considered one of the people who gets it all). In the mean time the kid threw up on himself so the other neighbor kids took him outside to bathe him, which he was not excited about, because its about 55 degrees outside and the water is pretty cold this time of year. The cold shower (or bucket of water poured on him) didn't really sober him up like we had hoped, instead there was a wet drunk naked child wandering around the barrio babbling about God knows what in Spanish. Eventually his mom put him to bed.
I saw him this morning and he was as chipper as ever. Apparently six-year-olds don't get hangovers like 26 year-olds. I tried to scold him again this morning but he wasn't in the mood to listen, at least some of the older neighbors that were drunk last night showed some remorse.


Rachel said...

Hi, I found your blog recently and am enjoying it immensely. I lived in La Vega for a year in 2001 and have visited many times since then. I lived in a barrio that sounds a lot like yours...the kind of place they tell you Americans shouldn't visit. :) I worked with a group called T.E.A.R.S. which is run by Rod Davis and they have built an elementary school to give a private education for barrio kids. It's a really cool organization! If you get a chance to go to La Vega you should look them up. (Barrio Maria Auxiliadora) Anyway, thanks for sharing your stories. Brings back a lot of memories for me. I can identify with almost every story -- from seeing drunk kids in the streets to eating mondongo. :)


Rachel said...

I forgot to mention...I'm from Oregon too and so is the T.E.A.R.S. team!

Christopher Ward said...

Nice, there is a Youth Volunteer living in one of the bad spots of La Vega. I don´t remember the name though. I hear that La Vega´s barrios trumps most of the rest of the country´s when it comes to Urban poverty.