Thursday, April 01, 2004

april 1, 2004

Just wanted to drop a line. This won't be as long as the last and by the way, thanks for the responses.

I've got a situation that developed over the past few days that is growing kind of worrisome. It is a little convoluted but hopefully I can tell you fairly quickly.

We were at an orphanage for an annual "Orphan's Day" celebration. It is something that was instituted about 8 years ago to elevate the awareness of homeless kids and to increase adoptions. They have a small parade with the kids on flatbeds, waving to what crowds show up. They have their names and ages posted on the trailer so the audience can see who each one is. Americans are invited to attend because it is a good chance to look at
all the kids in one sittings so to speak.

Anyway, after the parade, I was in the playground with some kids. They like to build miniature clown circuses with sticks and mud, so I was helping. Soon, a cat came into the yard and I was trying to call it over. I was calling "Here Kittie" but unfortunately I wasn't aware of what I was actually saying. It turns out that "Here" sounds much like the Ukrainian word for "I want". I'm studying russian and "I want" is Hochu in that language, so I had no idea of the difference. But then it gets worse. "Kittie" is very similar to a slang term Ukrainians use for a certain part of the female anatomy.

So here I am, calling out for this cat and inadvertantly shouting "I want..." I wasn't even aware of it but the kids withdrew and a small crowd gathered around me. People started yelling in Ukrainian but over here that is typical and I didn't think much of it. It was not until the Mayor's son, who I later found out is mentally retarded, busted into the circle and began yelling at the crowd and at me that I realized something might be wrong. He kept getting more and more upset until another man stepped in and tried to calm him down. They started pushing, shoving and finally it turned into a brawl. My Russian teacher Vlad ran in a pulled me from the crowd before I was caught up in it. They put me in
a car and whisked me away.

It was a nightmare. The militia was called. The mayor got involved. He started a secret police investigation of me. The peace corps main offices got involved. The embassy is involved. I spent hours at the police station and almost some in jail.

And now there is talk of my eviction from the country. If not the country, then surely from the city. They say that I am not safe here anymore. The mayor's son has started a papering campaign around town demanding my eviction. And evidently nobody can stop him because of who his father is. I have 7 state security officials watching me at the moment for my own safety.

It is all very strange and even unbelievable.

I knew I was going on an adventure. But I never realized what was in store for me.

I will find out soon enough how
this will end. Wish me luck.

April Fool’s.

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