Thursday, August 13, 2009 stoning

So after Tuesday's events, I decided to take my run not at the end of the day, but right at 11:00, and what better way to run than with a see at least part of the damage done by the protestors. So off I went, everything looked normal as I approached Miraflores, the mall/commercial area where much of the bad stuff went down. As I came into the area, the police were directing traffic...the protestors had stayed the night in one of the teaching universities (teachers unions are among the biggest supporters of the ousted president) right where I wanted to run. So I went right up to the border of the protestors (why traffic means no cars and I have the rule of the road...along with a few more stares than usual.) and then went back and around the block. As I went around the block, the protestors were moving down the road (only one side of the road...traffic stopped on the other side closest to me due to the protestors turning left onto that road)...but I could clearly see that there were "civilians" also milling about with no real fear, so I decided I could go for it. I ran amongst the cars while I watched the protestors (protestors always seem to be grumpy, hmmm) and then I wanted to go straight...which would mean I would have to run through them. I said "permiso" (excuse me) and went right through and continued on my route. Definitely exciting and a pick-me-up for running.
I happened to be wearing all blue...the opposite party color for the all wearing red protestors, for added excitement.

Obviously not all the protestors are non-violent, and I only ran with and through after scoping out the situation. When things turn ugly though, there is often no on Tuesday it is reported in the paper that a boy was playing in the play area of one of the fast food joints when the protestors started throwing rocks through the windows. One man was hospitalized...he was cleaning the windows of the Burger King when a rock broke the window, and sent shards into his arm...they originally said he might lose the arm...I have not heard an update. The embassy released some kind of extreme travel restrictions for their staff in terms of avoiding completely the areas where I was running. Better to be running than driving around there, since traffic is obviously compounded in the other side streets and such because of all this. Reina received a disturbing call because her son was working downtown near where the protestors were for part of his schooling, and the business let them go early due to the problems....he was trying to get home, and protestors roughed him up fairly well. He did not have to go to the hospital...but obviously that does not give one warm fuzzies.

One final point on this...if you are able to avoid the areas where the protestors congregate, you could go about your business oblivious to the disturbances blocks or miles away. It never occurs to me "this is all going on one/two/three miles from me...or in the case of yesterday, people were out and about a block or less from the marchers.

Oscar returned yesterday a day early from the CHE training to the pastors with Adolfo (CHE master trainer from up near Santa Barbara.) It went well, but there still needs to be follow-up in the near future to make sure things are progressing forward....CHE being a way to involve the community to meet physical needs/hygiene while sharing the gospel.

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