Friday, August 22, 2008

Mission complete

Before I undertook my recent trip to Belize V had warned me to steer clear of bible-bashers and loose creole women. Whilst the latter didn't prove to be too much of a problem, on my last night in PG I was cornered by a missionary before I could finish my fish burger.

The tale he had to tell turned out to be quite saddening. For the past twelve years he had been based in Puerto Barrios bringing the good news to the pestilential tropics thereabouts, with occasional jaunts across to Garifuna-land, but now their mission was to pack up and close, leaving him with little option but to return to the US to make a new life there.

He was originally from Kansas, he explained, but many years ago his parents had moved to Washington state, and so it was there that he was planning to start a janitor - he confided - adding that he hadn't shared that particular plan with his wife just yet. She had been born to missionary parents in Ecuador and his two kids were Guatemalan-born, so only he had any real experience of life in el norte.

On arrival in Guatemala he and his wife had been located in Panorama, some two hundred metres from our own house in the 'condominio' next door to the retards.

He also briefed me a little about conditions across the bay in Puerto Barrios. Until a year or so ago it had been extremely unwise to stroll around near the port facilities after dark, but a vigilante gang had undertaken a bit of social cleansing with a consequent drop in the levels of ambient delinquency.

This was going to be his final evening too in Belize; he'd come to say his goodbyes to his friends.

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