The driver of the police truck coming the opposite way started slowly, and then slammed on his breaks as a different man was pushed by a policeman into the road as well. A small crowd on the sidewalk watched as the man on the ground tried to get up, but was promptly beaten back down with the nightstick of one of the police officers.
Crime is more rampant here than in the neighborhoods I lived in during my middle class American upbringing. There is a dangerous mixture of a huge income gap between the rich and the poor, along with large numbers of people who literally have nothing to do and nothing to lose.
Money, jewelry, a cell phone, plates, spoons, knives and all our forks are among the things that have been recently stolen from the office.
One of the difficulties of dealing with crime of any type is the complete lack of trust between the community and police. Whether it’s an incredibly slow response time (if they come at all) or corruption, people here feel they have to protect themselves, there’s no authority that will.
I have yet to personally experience anything worse than what feels like a few minutes of stalking by a guy on a bike, which is actually somewhat culturally acceptable (I also had three guy friends with me, so while I was creeped out, I still felt safe). But I’ve been told many times that it’s not safe to be out after dark (that’s about 6:30 PM).
I, and family members before me (it’s genetic, great grandma and grandpa moved to Papua New Guinea in their 70’s to name one example), have never let fear of what could possibly hypothetically happen control our lives. But it’s a balancing act with trying not to be stupid and getting yourself killed (or even seriously maimed).
How do you let fear, of whatever scares you most, form your decisions about how you live your life?