I experienced a couple of new things this last week. Sushi for one. I’ll let my buddies back in Boulder take a moment to catch their breath. I know you are scratching your head in wonder. What got Brendan to try sushi? We couldn’t get him to eat it, ever. He refused and ate pizza the last time we tried. What brought about this big change? Lets just say some people are a little more persuasive than others. I will also admit that I didn’t like it, but I figured I needed to try the sushi roll because I was in Mexico and you know the old saying, when in Mexico eat Japanese. Or something along those lines.
Mexico was another new experience. Now I’ve been to Mexico before, but I’ve never been there to renew a visa. Walking across the boarder from Guatemala to Mexico was very interesting. The Guate site was very crowded, people everywhere trying to sell you something or get you to exchange money with them. It reminded me of the Mexican side of the boarder near Juarez, dirty and dangerous. I walked through with my hands in my pockets trying to make sure no one else snuck their hands in there as well. While the Guate side was a reminder of third world poverty, the Mexican side of the boarder was clean and peaceful. There weren’t any beggars or hustlers. I know that Mexico, just like any country, isn’t all that great, but it sure seemed like a peaceful sanctuary compared to what I’d just walked through.
After a brief stay in Mexico we crossed back safely to Guatemala. Leaving behind cheap movies and bad Sushi. (Side note we saw The Strangers while we were there because the main Character’s name is Kristen McKay, which is the name of the art teacher at my school. Only she spells it Kristin. Well, she really wanted to see the movie because of this fact. Half way through she was scared, screaming, and regretting her movie selection.) Leaving Mexico was easy. Entering Guatemala was difficult. The official didn’t want to let us back in. We’d only stayed in Mexico for one day instead of the typical three days required to renew a visa. So, we bribed him with cigarets and booze. Factually not true, but we did accept his request of 10 Q each to re-enter the country (should’ve been free). I’m sure he pocketed the money. This experience made me wonder, do you work with a corrupt system so you can continue to share Christ’s love, or do you hold to your standards, meaning going back and waiting three days? We payed and returned to Xela a couple of hours later.
I know that 10 Q isn’t all that much, a little more than a dollar actually, but it is the fact that there are people out there that are willing to bend the rules for profit. This was small amount, but the guy still had an asking price. Do we all have asking prices? I hope that I can’t be bought off. I mean I guess I’m not my own to sell, I’ve already been purchased by Christ. But what about the people who see money as their salvation and are willing to put others in danger just to obtain it? Things work a little different down here. In the presence of such poverty money is a get out of jail card. I’m not saying Guatemalans are greedy, more so needy. And when you are in need money sure seems like a good answer. Maybe that is why the man requested 10 Q from each of us. Maybe he needed the extra money for something noble like a starving child, but most likely he just wanted a little extra cash. Greed is ugly, it can turn a fun weekend with friends into a sour experience.