We, especially Arnol, had an atypical, stressful Sunday Afternoon. It's one of those moments that we have to really step back and question our purpose.
It all started when I forgot an item at the grocery store earlier in the day. I needed some tomato paste to make enchilada sauce, but neglected to add it to the list. We got home with the groceries for the week, and I began to prepare dinner. Now, before I go on to assume any glory, I want to say that Paula and Faith cook meals every weekday, Saturday and most Sundays. I sometimes cook on Sundays because I really cannot stand sitting still.
So before the burner got turned on, I realized we were out of tomato paste and called for Arnol. Arnol is the only one with a working bicycle, so he is the one called on for errands. It works well, except that it has no brakes. In Honduras, many homes open up a front room and sell commonly used items. Believe it or not, tomato paste is one of those few items. Arnol grabbed some cash and took off.
Tim and I stayed home from church to make Tex-Mex enchiladas, that was probably the sin that caused the problem. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak, especially with the temptation of Tex-Mex. So Paula drove the kids to church while we continued dinner prep. Arnol returned with the tomato paste and put it on the counter, saying only "Here is the tomato paste."
A few minutes later, Paula called and told me that Arnol had hit a little girl with his bicycle. The mother and her boyfriend were walking with the girl and claimed that Arnol deliberately hit her. Paula was taking the girl to the hospital, though she really saw no serious problems with the girl. People here are a little clinic happy for various reasons. Paula wanted me to come help with the situation, so I turned off the burners, grumbled something to Arnol about having to go to the clinic because he ran into a girl.
Arnol told me that he was trying to avoid the girl. She ran across the street, away from her mother, while a truck was approaching. He said that he fell into a rocky ditch, but could not completely avoid the girl, who was scraped near the hip, by the bicycle. I bit my lip from adding further insult to injury.
As I was driving off, Paula called and said that the man, mother and child got out of the van and were mad about our handling of the situation, angry that we doubted their account that Arnol intentionally rammed the girl. Paula had examined the girl and found no signs of concussion. They doubted her credentials, but said they would handle it themselves. So, we decided to catch up to the family, and try to rectify things, to reassure the mother that the daughter did not need a hospital visit.
We caught up and talked it over with the family. Paula tried to convince them that girl was alright. The man was still angry and refused to take our word for it, nor would the mother. They were also still angry that we would doubt their story that Arnol intended to run over the girl. In the process of trying to convince them that the girl had no concussion, Paula gestured towards the girls eyes and head, to show how her pupils were responding to light. The girl jerked away, as if Paula were going to strike her... as if she was used to that. We parted without being to able to reconcile.
I went to a neighborhood store to get more tomato paste, still a little miffed that Arnol had gotten into so much trouble but did not accomplish the mission. I'm such an idiot. Paula called as I was starting up the car to tell me that she got more of the story from Arnol. Arnol had fallen into the ditch to avoid the girl, and while he was down, the boyfriend began kicking him and was about to punch him in the head before a neighbor pulled the man away. A couple days later Paula noticed a bump on Arnol's head and asked where he got it. Turns out the man got at least one blow on Arnol's head before the neighbor pulled him off. In case you didn't know, Arnol is 13 years old. The man was around 30, and drunk. The man, mother and daughter were walking home from the weekly Sunday soccer games when this all happened.
So now we are faced with the old dilemma, to report or not to report, a crime. The accusation is assault on a minor. Although we do not discount the attack on Arnol, we believe that the man is abusive, especially as we think about the young girl reflexively flinching as Paula was trying to feel her head, and the inebriated state of the boyfriend. We have reported crimes in the past, even had witnesses, but nothing came of the accusations. Two people have told us that we need to hire a lawyer and then report the crime. That's a little foreign to us, because in the USA, you do not need a lawyer to report a crime. Here though, I think the lawyer helps to make sure the process continues. Still, we believe it is our duty to help the mother and daughter, to try and remove this man from their home.
The mother came a day later, with a relative, to ask for money for medical examinations. We were still quite angry that Arnol had been assaulted and asked if she was going to pay for that. Tempers flared, Christianity flew out the window, and we sent them off. Later on, after we had time to cool off, we realized that we needed to help, even though Arnol had not done anything wrong, while he had in fact been very wronged. It was not justice, just Christianity. We contacted the woman and told her that we would take the girl to our doctor if she wanted to. She just wanted the money for the X-Ray that was prescribed, for now. Follow up medical bills will be on us, but we do not expect any real doctor to take any action. The mother had taken the girl to a home for retired nuns, to let the nuns examine her. The nuns prescribed the X-Ray.
If there are any real injuries, we honestly believe they were inflicted by the drunk boyfriend. Please pray that one way or another, this man would not hurt any more children.