(or as my Guatemalteco friends say, “The Adventures of Cait” – Stick with me for this…it’s good)
I live in a house surrounded by walls.
It is a typical house here in Chiquimulilla, Guatemala.
Simple. Concrete. With steel doors. And iron bars.
The house has a small courtyard in the front and back. Separated by the house.
In the back is where I do all the washing (dishes, clothes, etc).
My days begin simple here.
I wake up at 5:30am.
For every one I kill, 5 bite me.
Prepare Lunch for the day.
And leave for San Antonio by 8am.
This particular morning, I was washing dishes when the steel door slammed shut.
Augh. The wind.
I looked around. No key. No phone.
First thought: This is not good.
Second thought: Thank you, Lord, I’m not in my PJs.
I had on my work pants and a tank top. No shoes.
I checked the 2 doors. Locked.
I have a driver. His name is Amner. (Yes, I can drive, but it is safer to have a local man travel with me.)
Amner would arrive to take me to the job site. But he wouldn’t hear me. Not from the back courtyard.
I found a ladder leaning against the house near the basin.
Searched above for a spot to climb onto the roof.
Used a metal awning as my first level. Lightly and carefully. The ladder was wobbling.
From the awning, I climbed onto my flat roof.
Checked the roof for means of escape.
The building next to my house is in mid-construction.
No bars on the windows.
I decided that I could jump across the 5’ gap.
Then, I (sadly) realized that I am not Jason Borne.
Leaping is easy, but landing is hard.
Not being a “quitter,” I told myself I could surely do it…if I was being chased by a person, dog or giant pig.
I checked the other side of the roof.
I could drop down about 6’ to an 8” wide ledge.
That would put me on top of the wall surrounding the front courtyard.
I could (carefully) walk on top of the wall to the front gate, hang down to drop to the ground.
I thought, “This will work.”
Followed by, “what will I do dropping into the street without keys or a phone?”
Decided the risk of slipping off the ledge during my initial drop from the roof was too great for the small reward of getting to the street.
So, I waited.
I checked my watch.
I tried to find a shady spot on the roof.
I failed to find a shady spot.
I returned to the side of the roof leading to the ledge and considered trying it.
At least there is shade in the street.
Again, logic won.
I remained on the roof, waiting.
Amner arrived about an hour after my adventure started.
Amner had no keys for my house.
Amner tried to call Olga (who has keys) but he didn’t have minutes on his phone (phones are prepaid here).
Amner left to buy minutes for his cell phone.
Amner returned 15 minutes later with bags of cold water and a lollipop.
I caught a bag of water.
I said no to the lollipop.
Amner crossed the street to wait in the shade.
I thought, again, about attempting the ledge. The shade looked nice across the street.
Olga and Eric came.
Eric took a photo “for Facebook.”
Olga unlocked the house.
With help, I climbed down from the roof.