I spent the last few days trying to figure out how to describe this place. I wanted to have an open mind and not be so judgmental. I wanted to believe that under all the trash, stench and leering there were kind people and a charming atoll. Maybe there are, but I don't see it. Yesterday we were robbed. In broad daylight. They broke the lock off of the door and went through all of our stuff. They took two computers (navigational computer and the computer we do all of our sailmail stuff on), our iPad (most devastating to Jake), some rather pricey binoculars, and Andy's scuba mask. They left our old MAC with a bum keyboard, so with the generosity of another cruiser, we're able to hook up an external keyboard and get that up and running. Hopefully, we can reload everything fairly easily.
We weren't the only ones to be broken into. Before we got here, one boat got his dinghy stolen and he had to pay $100 to get it back. Another boat was entered via a spare key the robbers found. And a third boat had locks broke on the lockers in their cockpits. All in broad daylight. There are numerous fisherman around here so there is no doubt someone saw each and every incident, but no one is talking. The police are equally useless...they asked us if we had any suspects. They offered to come out the next day and take pictures (of what, I'm not sure), but when Andy went to pick the guy up, he couldn't find his camera. The thieves left their tool they used to break the lock, a purple hat, and a large piece of styrofoam (the common method of transportation around here). But evidently, those aren't very helpful to the police.
It's not the stuff they took that I'm upset about, although it's going to be rather pricey to replace those things. All of our pictures were on that computer. I have most of them on this old MAC, but everything from Tahiti to present day is gone (well, Andy has all of his pictures on a separate hard drive, so not all is lost). I've been trying to do some writing as well and all of that is gone. We recently wrote out a resume for Andy and that's gone. Now I know everyone knows what a pain that is! But worst of all, my little boy is scared now. He went through his room with a fine tooth comb making sure nothing was taken and he handled it all like a big boy. But he tells me he's a worrier like me and if he ever finds those guys, he's got his bear spray and machete, because that's what daddy would do... really?
If I sound bitter, that's because I am. We go to great pains not to offend people in other countries, to follow their customs, to smile and try to be friendly, regardless of how we're treated. You can put up a hundred churches on these little islands. You can make people cover their knees and shoulders. You can put up signs reminding people it's not nice to rape your daughter. But I don't think you can take the bad out of bad people. The lady on the bus taking our money yesterday had obviously been beaten. The men giving Andy the stink eye and me leering looks (despite my extremely modest way of dressing) as we walk along the streets didn't have nice thoughts on their mind, I can assure you.
We were looking forward to going to one of the closer outer islands on Monday, Abaiang. But I think we're just going to head up to Majuro instead. Although, truth be told, I heard it's not much better up there. But the sail up there will give us time to clear our heads and open that mind back up so that we can remember why we're doing this...
I have some pictures still on our cameras but I'm having trouble loading them on this computer. I'll keep trying.