One of the aspects of this cruising life is the characters that you meet along the way. The charming, the nasty, the intelligent,the weird. All of humanities rich mix is here somewhere. Although out on the oceans it does sometimes seem to be just a bit exaggerated. Occasionally though you run in to the scum, the user, the conman, the just downright unpleasant. It's sad but a fact of life that it's out there.
For those of you who have been reading previous entries in my blog you will recall my despair at the situation here in Guatemala of the local women. See the entries, Sordid Lives. Many of the comments that I received from the local cruisers included 'butting out of local issues' that I couldn't possibly comprehend, admonishing me for bringing my 'moral' values to another culture and so on.
Well I can take all that, guess what I'm a big girl now!
My stance is that there is no such thing as an innocent bystander. Speak up or be tarred with the same brush as the perpetrator of abuse, the conman and the rest.
So right now on the Rio Dulce we are having a small 'Crime Ripple'. A few dinghies and motors have 'been liberated', just like happens in almost every anchorage in the world. It's bloody annoying but if you take the time and care to secure your rubberduck well, the chances of it happening to you are greatly diminished. After all you don't leave your car parked with the keys in the ignition, your wallet open on the table and walk away do you!
A group of cruisers here have taken great umbrage that they are not 'being protected' by the local authorities... OK maybe they have little experience of real cruising, looking out for yourself, being self sufficient and all those scary grown-up things.
The self appointed leader really takes the biscuit! He and his family arrived on the Rio a few months ago in his '67 foot trawler'. Strangely he takes every opportunity in his (many) transmissions on the daily cruisers net to tell you that you can find him on his '67 foot trawler'!
It's fascinating watching and listening to him jockey for position amongst the established Rio characters, holding church services on his '67 foot trawler'. Oh yes I didn't mention that did I! He runs a 'not for profit' mission based on his '67 foot trawler'. Wind Word Missions.
Getting himself involved in the Jungle Medic's organization... pity the poor guy who has run that for the last five years building it from nothing having to put up with this blatant glory seeker 'helping' in 'The Lord's Work'... yeuck.
Well apart from his three kids baking cookies to sell at the swap meet "to raise money for the poor", he has a busy life driving his 4x4 to the local town to shop and visit McDonalds, go wakeboarding, etc. Guess the Lord's Work isn't really so time consuming.
So to fill in that gap he has taken over getting 'protection' for the cruisers. Well not for me you ain't buddy - butt out.
The local tourist and police agencies, who have so little finance that they have a boat but no propeller, no fuel, no radio, nothing really, are being coerced into riding patrol at night around the three newly designated safe anchorages... oh they do have guns by the way!
That's going to be great as you tootle back to your boat late at night in the dark... a trigger happy security guy desperate to prove to his bosses that he is keeping it safe on the Rio... I'll leave you to use your own imagination on that one!
So I thought I'd take a look at this guy's website... windword.ca Amazing! I have been missing so much in my life... If I tithe my earnings to the lovely Borthwick family, he guarantees me "God's promise of financial blessings." Well that's okay then.
I note that he and his wife are "bringing wisdom and insight, and signs and wonders to the people of this world." So that's it then huh! All of God's might will be bought to bear on the dinghy thieves of the Rio Dulce.
The latest on this saga is that the local authorities are upset that the Rio will be getting a bad reputation out in the big world. I wonder if this is a sign of the quality of insight and wisdom that Windword brings.
The poor bastards that's just what they need in this war damaged, corruption riddled, sex trading, women-abusing, poverty-stricken land of Guatemala. Good on you Brent, Sharon and the crew and supporters of Jireh, you've got your priorities right - way to go.
Oh by the way, if you feel moved to contribute to the cost of the diesel for that '67 foot trawler', the cost of running the a/c, the cost of the car or the dockage fees, the website has a facility to take your payment by credit card.
And if anyone would like to contribute to the running costs of the a/c on my boat I can accept paypal, credit cards or cash!