Friday, May 22, 2015

Nica Scene: The Cage Truck

Our experiment into family living abroad is seriously getting close to over -- at least for now -- and that means i'm in the phase where i'm trying to store the memories so i don't forget. There's so much to remember!

So i resolve to write at least one or two "Nica Scenes" a week, giving you a sense of what it's like to live here. Little snippets, the way memories flash for a second and then are gone...
No cage truck, here's my old street.

Nica Scene: The Cage Truck

When people are arrested in Granada, they're not hauled away in a paneled truck that hides its contents. Instead, there's a cage for that. A metal enclosure has been welded to the back of a small pickup, with black bars close together enough to keep even the skinniest of accused criminals inside, and tall enough for the average Nicaraguan man to be able to stand up while he's hauled off to the jail outside town.

It seems it's best to stand up, because there's nowhere to sit down except the hot black metal of the truck's bed. 

The truck used to be parked outside the health center near Casa Bambu, ostensibly to get some medical treatment for one of the arrestees. Occasionally it would drive by, loaded down with a handful of prisoners, the truck's back end listing toward the rear with the weight.

(If you own a truck in Nicaragua, you can bet that you'll be replacing its shocks often -- not just because of the occasional pothole, but because you're sure to get hop-ons. In fact, you'll probably be happy to take them, because it's a measure of good will around here to give a ride to a person who can't afford the 10 cordoba (40 cents) bus fare. Many trucks roll by on the streets, loaded down with a haul of people, all who too casually hold onto the roll bar or just stand near the rear.)

You'd think that the folks headed for the jail in the cage truck would be quiet and sullen -- but no. Being hauled off to jail doesn't seem to stop their compunction for whooping, hollering, goofing off and catcalling -- as if jail was just going to be a little vacation from a life equally squalid back home. Or at least i can only imagine.

So it shouldn't surprise me when i'm walking down the street -- dressed in shorts and a t-shirt instead of a tank top and skirt as i'd like to do, in order to stave off some catcalls -- when the biggest, loudest catcalls of the day come from the cage truck whizzing by toward the health center.

"I looooooh you baby!" he says, grabbing at his pants and heart at the same time, making him wobble a little inside the cage truck.

Apparently, heading to jail for who knows how long doesn't stop a man from trying.

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Shasta Grimes writes about roadschooling -- that traveling/school combination i so admire -- as well as out-of-the box education, missions and traveling on her site, Live Love Learn Go. She's written a book called "The Power of the Do-Over," available on Amazon.

And since you'll be shopping on Amazon, why not check out The Giving Assistant, a program that lets you get 5-30% cash back at online stores. What's more the site donates a meal to a needy family for every purchase!




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