Sunday, August 3, 2008

Is anyone trustworthy?

Over the past two days I have had basically everyone I thought to be close to me shown in a new light. People seem to joke around with me as the token white guy and very few seem to respect me as the engineer I am. I have had some of those closest to me ask me if THEY had to follow the rules I have put upon the entire community. “But I don’t have to follow the rules, right Roberto?!” Then they have seemed insulted when I informed them that the rules apply to everyone. They seem to have assumed that if they got close to me, the rules wouldn’t apply. Since that moment I have noticed a marked change in attitude, and I have been forced to re-evaluate my relationship with everyone. In a situation like this, the Peace Corps, one finds comfort in thinking that they have at least a few people close to them who understand, at least a little, where they are coming from. And now I am realizing that their friendliness may all have been, to some degree, an act. People may be hospitable to me just because they figure it will make it easier for them down the road. A bunch of village ‘yes-men’ and ‘yes-women’. The fact that I, their rich white person, haven’t gotten together money for the aqueduct, no, haven’t even “started work” as they say, and I have been here nine months, tells them I might not know what I’m doing. My halo is wearing off as I struggle to find the green and people realize that I can’t be bought with friendliness. Now I’m just the young white guy who seems to sit in his house all day (healing my ankle) and doesn’t seem to be giving out favors after all. They say be weary of your first friends because they probably won’t turn out to be the best ones. But who would have figured that they could put on the act for 9 months? Live…and learn.

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