Journals from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
2010-04-14 Getting Robbed...
Well, I've been terrible about writing, and Im sorry. A ton has happened, so I'm going to put in two entries today. The first, this one, is a bit of a downer. You dont have to read it, but maybe you'll learn something if you do! The second is much more fun- Galpagos!!!
First, I got robbed about three weeks ago. I got very lucky; I have friends who had to go back to the States early because they were attacked or molested. Others have been robbed at knife point, and others have lost their cell phones, computers, debit cards and/or all their money in their accounts. I didn't get attacked and I just lost my cell phone; I'm grateful for that. But it shook me up quite a bit. I've had my wallet stolen before, but that was just a pickpocket. This was someone stopping me on the street on my way to school, pinning me against the wall, and saying things he would do to me if I didn't give him my cell phone. It was a little scary.
I was on my way to school when it happened, walking along a street that wasn't deserted but wasn't full. I saw a guy coming from the other direction, who looked a little sketchy. I wanted to cross the street, but there were too many cars so I couldn't. When he first stopped in front of me, I thought it was a mistake. Most people try to dodge you, not run into you, but he was playing with his cell phone and I figured he just didn't see me. I tried to go around him, but he wouldn't let me. He told me to give him my phone. At first, I was confused. Did he want to borrow it? I didn't mind, but how would he get it back to me? I wasn't going to give him my address, and he would have my phone so he couldn't call me. I was running late, and didn't want to wait around for him... I guess I took too long to respond, because that's then he put his hand on my shoulder and shoved me against the wall. And that's when I realized what was happening.
I don't know if this is good or bad, but my first instinct was to fight. I didnt even think of running (probably would have if I hadn't had a heavy backpack) and I was not inclined to hand over my phone (I had just purchased twenty dollars of minutes! Twenty dollars!) I tried twice to push past him and say no, but when he pinned me against the wall and started shouting about all the things he would do to me (most of which I didn't understand and Im probably lucky I didn't understand! The part I heard was scary enough!), I handed my phone over.
It scared and upset me, but I really got lucky. He just took my phone- I bought a new phone. And my phone was retarded, and the new one was cheap. Though I had a backpack on and there was money inside, I didn't lose money or a computer or a camera or my life or anything. I have friends who have lost all of those (not their lives, but a few have been attacked physically.) So I feel very lucky. Once I stopped crying, I definitely realized how much God had protected me. And it was probably good for me. I've been much too confident about walking alone when I probably should take a bus or taxi, but I don't usually carry enough extra money on me to pay for transportation that I haven't planned for, so I walk. Im lucky that God woke me up to reality without hurting me or costing me too much.
The frustrating part is that now I'm nervous all the time when I'm walking and I hate it. Every guy I see is a potential robber; I feel like the robbery stole my small town innocence. Since I'm in a big city, I know that awareness, that caution, is a good thing. But I'm afraid that I'll go home to my tiny towns in Oregon and Nevada and be jumping at shadows. Sigh, I miss the country!
Ok, now it's time for the fun entry! Stay tuned for Galpagos folks!