Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's Hard having a Child in a Foreign Country, Especially a Violent One

Brenna with one of the Salvadorian staff members of CCCI

One thing I'm going home with is a sense that Brenna is safe in El Salavador. It is a very dangerous country, but CCCI (the organization she is with) has put many safeguards into place. Before she went I was really upset that the young adults on her team would be driving. To be fair, I had been told that the driving was crazier in El Sal than in Asia. As it turns out this isn't true. I won't say that Chinese drivers are WORSE than other drivers, but they certainly have their  own set of rules and secret handshakes that I think you have to have grown up with to understand. Salvadorian drivers have seemed calm in comparison: they follow lane lines, and know that traffic lights are not just suggestions. So I'm happy to see for myself that she is safe on the road. I would feel comfortable driving here, where I would NOT feel safe driving in Thailand. 

Even though our children are adults, I'm glad that CCCI has taken the feelings of the parents into consideration and are doing everything possible to keep our kids safe. This means that the kids have very little freedom. Their worlds have iron bars, gates, and armed guards. They are delivered in cars from their home to the university; from one hermetically sealed world to the next. Or they can go from their house to the mall. In a group of two or more. They are either at home, at school or at a safe environment protected by a soldier with a rifle. Brenna can't just decide to go to the grocery store or the mall. She has to have someone with her, and she has to call one of the boys or a familiar driver to take her. She can't walk down the street freely. She can't be anywhere outside her house alone. Jim and I haven't been able to walk  the two blocks from our hotel to her house--it's not safe. We have to take taxis or the rental car. Every little restaurant we visit, or store we shop at has an armed guard. I'm not sure whether this makes me feel safe, or scares me to death. I will go home and worry about her, but my rational mind knows she is taking a reasonable risk. She is in good hands here. 

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