April 27, 2012

breaking an entering. breaking trust

the first thing that caught my eye was the white board laying diagonally across the couch. then my eye raced to the window and saw it wide open..then the sliding door which was only ajar because of the wooden bar in the track..

it was 5:30am yesterday morning.  my mind immediately thought of the computers and they were gone.  i found my pocketbook thrown on the floor and saw that my wallet (with money and a credit card) were also taken.  i didn't realize it at first but the Ipad was taken also..

it was real.  it was shocking, sickening, frightening.  i ran upstairs to get dashiel.  the kids were still asleep.  we ran outside to notify the night guards.  only 1 was there.  he didn't even know that it had happened!  he is supposed to at least patrol the yards of the compound every 2 hours.  he looked angry and scared -- knowing now his job is most likely going to be over.  a moment later the day guard arrived.  we all went to the yard to discover that the barbed wire along the back wall was cut.  the tool was left sitting on the top of the wall.  the thief had climbed up the tree on the neighbor's side and jumped over into our yard.  the simple lock was forced open without noticeable damage.  dyami's books and belongings in his backpack were laid neatly on the couch and the backpack was gone -- an easy way to take the goods..

the security company's boss came and suggested we file a police report.  we decided against it.  the police are very corrupt.  they expect bribes when they come to 'help' you and if you don't then you must be ready to expect future harm from them.  we were told, too, that they will put the guards in jail as well as all of the kids who have been coming to our home..

this is the reality:  someone who has been in our home is connected with a criminal.  no other home in the compound was targeted.  this someone knew we had laptops and knew how to explain to the criminal where they would be.  on the neighbor's side of the wall we found a set of footprints -- one big and one small -- leading away from the wall to my neighbor's side wall which was easy to climb over..

the entire day was full of discussion, emotion, investigation, consultation, and disruption.  everything was shaken up and no longer settled.  the guard called some of my jr. youth to witness what had happened, admonishing them that no one will be let in from the neighborhood until they find out who is involved with this crime.  those 5 boys were shocked.  i trust them.  it was the worst moment to have to consider that they had anything to do with it..they stayed for a while, listening to the gardener who manages the compound, as well as our driver who counseled them in some wise way -- as they have known him all this time as well and he brings them wisdom as well as joy through being playful..

our children were initially surprised and not visibly upset by what they saw in terms of the break-in.  we were calm and aiming to demonstrate detachment from material things, focusing on being grateful for everything that we still have, especially each other.  when they returned from school, they disclosed what they were feeling throughout the day, and we were able to talk about the incident more at dinner time as a family.  they feel vulnerable yet not afraid.  we tried to help them understand the significance of trusting in God while taking necessary precautions to protect us from harm.  since the barbed wire can be cut, and the window lock easily pulled open, we consulted on how to feel safe while we're sleeping -- that is the issue..

for now, until the compound has an electrical current running through the barbed wire, we have decided to sleep with our living room curtains drawn closed, with a light on in the living room and the perimeter of the house, as well as with our bedroom doors locked.  the discussion ended with the kids realizing they have control by having a key which can let them out, versus the vulnerability that any backlash or additional crime could affect them directly while in a deep sleep..

throughout yesterday, my mind searched for answers and my heart felt divided by who i still trust and who i clearly don't trust..kids that have been here and whose families i don't know well, or at all.  i prayed and cried, mourning the kinship i felt in the neighborhood, the trust that was growing, the bonds of friendship that made life here joyful.  i felt like i now lived in a prison where no visitors may come to see me.  i felt very uncomfortable being outside of the compound not knowing who was our true friend.  overall i felt weak and tired.  my mind was tired.  and my heart felt torn -- how does it show forth love and kindness to all when there is the silence of mistrust that lingers now in my heart?

later in the morning i received a call from the chairperson of the Local Spiritual Assembly, inviting dash and i to come to his home for an important consultation.  he wouldn't disclose what it was about.  this gave me anxiety.  i couldn't imagine why it was so serious and that both dash and i needed to be present.  when we arrived later in the afternoon, we discovered from him and his wife that Aunt Mary (who owns this compound) had called them a few days ago, asking if they can talk with us about the continual complaints by the neighbors about us having the neighborhood kids visiting..

our experience in this house has now come full circle:  almost a year ago, soon after we moved in, we received a call from Aunt Mary yelling at me to move out because i was giving her a lot of stress from the complaints about the kids' visiting.  the one neighbor who complained to us after the Ayyam-i-Ha party complained to Aunt Mary and thus prompted her call to Mr. and Mrs. Asare.  then the break-in 3 days after her call prompted her to call Mrs. Asare yesterday morning basically saying, 'See, this is why we can't have the kids from the neighborhood visiting.  Let Pamela take her classes to where the kids live..'

..Mr. and Mrs. Asare offered spiritual counsel to achieve unity and harmony with our neighbors however we can.  we must consider unity as the most important goal in any of our endeavors.  it was a wonderful moment actually.  it was a clear sign to stop and make a change.  it was not a time for compromises.  there was going to be no dialogue with Aunt Mary to come to what we would consider a fair decision.

as we walked home from the Asare's, we agreed that we will continue honoring the gardener and guards' request that no one enter the compound this week.  it will be an indefinite period of time before we feel that we could resume activities in our home.  we wish that we could continue inviting those we trust to come for Devotions, dinner, tutoring, movie night, etc.. but we must be patient and forbearing with the circumstances.

i talked with the parents and kids who are the core group of friends that visit regularly.  at one of the family's homes, where 2 of the jr. youth and 4 of the regular kids were gathered, i could see in their faces how sad they were.  the father explained that they were now 'dull', meaning that they were without joyful energy today.  they understand that this incident of crime against us has resulted in the owner and neighbors being justified in their complaints and that for the time being, no one will be able to visit.. before i left, one of the jr. youth asked, 'Auntie Pamela, could we have the jr. youth group meet here?'  i was so touched by his sincere request and felt confirmed in my heart about the trust i feel for his family..

in contrast to Delft, there are a relatively small bunch of kids who have been associated with us for a long while now.  i can think of 2 handfuls of kids who used to come or who are new to coming over.  i still wonder which one may be the one who spoke to an adult about what we have in our home.. i still want to know if that child even knows they are connected with the crime.  i wonder whose small footprint is next to the adult's.. i heard that the boys who were there in the morning told the driver that a jr. youth who came over recently is known for doing 'bad things'.  this boy is not part of our core group of friends.  he was trusted by us because he's been attending Baha'i children's classes for many years and is now in a jr. youth group.  he is definitely a suspect in my mind because i remember him playing soccer last year with the men that Gramma Asare explained were the ones to blame for breaking into her home, assaulting the Baha'is and stealing from them..

it's hard to imagine that anyone we know would commit a crime against us, even if it was out of desperation for money.  but today i am still processing the fact that this crime is definitely connected with someone we have had in our home.. the more this sinks in, the more we find ourselves having to change the way we live, even if it's temporary while we feel so vulnerable.  essentially, for me, it means an internal struggle to trust wholeheartedly again while being wise.  my heart still feels and receives unconditional love for certain souls but i need time to repair the inner recesses of my heart which used to trust unconditionally.  this is the worst thing that was taken..

1 comment:

  1. follow up.. our 8 year old feels scared and has cried before going to sleep these past few nights. all our children say they miss having people come over. since none of our friends are allowed to enter the compound, we have been making great efforts to visit our friends, those with whom we have developed close relationships. we held the jr. youth group session outside in the shade in one of the rooms of an unfinished house next door. they all feel bad and are disheartened to realize that they can no longer enjoy activities in our home. hanging out in the neighborhood more often is strengthening the bonds of friendship in immeasurable ways, especially in light of them knowing what happened to us. last night we played soccer in the street with so much joy i could have played for hours. the keyhole garden looks beautiful with 2 tomato plants that the jr. youth transplanted from my garden into theirs. they now collect water in a bucket from our house in order to keep the seedlings and new plants watered regularly.

    our home is no longer able to serve as a refuge or be filled with the light of children, but we are determined to channel ourselves as servants of God no matter what the obstacles or difficulties we inevitably will face..