We had become complacent. When we first arrived in Latin America, we were constantly on the alert for anyone trying to take things from us. We read about taxi cabs, kidnappings, con artists and corrupt officials. We minimized risk by keeping credit cards well hidden, only a little cash in our wallets, and our passports on us at all times. We never put a bag on the rack above us on a bus, and kept tight hold of our cameras and devices, rarely taking them out unless we felt safe. But with time, and the almost constant kindness of strangers, we became complacent. As we began this journey described in our first blog posting, our goals were to seek to learn with humility, grow together, and, where possible, give with grace.
No one likes to be robbed. We were hustled by a team at a crowded bus
station in Puerto Montt. They surrounded us, pushing, smiling
reassuringly, offering to help us hand our packs to the bus loader. The
bus employee stopped loading baggage with cold suspicion telling us to
check our possessions and pockets as two of the men moved rapidly toward
an exit and a third women faded away into the crowd. They took with
them not only Sally's wallet but some of our innocence and much of our
joy that day.
Yet, as we boarded the bus with less cash and no credit cards, we
processed what it meant to learn with humility. We knew some of the
lessons would be harder than others, and we pray that none come from
physical harm. We were well "schooled" yesterday, and we reviewed what
happened as well as what can be done in the future. Neither of us wants
to look at strangers with fear or suspicion as we move through a world
rich with the variety of humanity found everywhere. Most have helped us
and these three individuals mainly harmed our pride and increased our
challenge of using the resources we need to continue the time remaining
in our South America adventure.
We learned a lot yesterday and, as we work with banks and credit card
companies, we learned more today. As anyone knows who has had credit
and ATM cards stolen, the degree to which they are used in ways that are
not transparent becomes painfully clear as many daily transactions,
activities, and actions are blocked or refused. In talking to others in
our hostel, we have also been shocked by the frequency in which they,
too, have been victimized. Because of this, they have been sources of
good advice as we seek police reports and ways to put our financial life
We had become complacent. We are wiser for the experience yesterday and
thoughtful about what it really means to learn with humility and to
give with grace.
Posted in Valdivia, Chile
Images of us on a bus before we were robbed, Jess at an ATM in Valdivia, and Sally with her friend Pirate proving that not all encounters go badly!