The daytime guard at UN INSTRAW is about the nicest security guard I’ve ever come across.
After a hectic journey across Santo Domingo to the office, it was great to be welcomed with “Hola hermano” and a “Fight the power” style fist salute. The gate was almost never locked, just a chain hung across the gap symbolizing lockedness.
He’s on loan from the Policia Nacional. Next door to the INSTRAW compound is some type of military installation. Every evening the trumpet would bellow, traffic would be stopped, and our guard would dutifully lower the Dominican flag in unison our neighbors.
One morning he stopped me and tried to hand me some sheets of paper. It was some kind of multiple choice History test, in Spanish. Cuál era la causa de la guerra mundial una? a) los fascistas. b) revolución de los métodos de producción… . He wanted me to take it and look up the answers on the Internet. I didn’t take it. He asked everyone in the office. Later I learned the test was not his, but actually his brothers. No moral quandries for him whatsoever. A kind of beautiful Dominican attitude. We’re all in it together, we help each other, and if his brother can get an entire UN Agency to help with him multiple choice history test, then wow, he deserves even more credit for it.
Another week, he started saying everything in English. Good Morning, How are you, I’m fine. Practicing. I was happy to oblige, he obliged my own tortured Spanish. One week later, the English abrputly ended, and then it was just Spanish for the rest of the summer.
My sysadmin colleague at INSTRAW always wanted to snap a picture of our guard sleeping. He always woke up first. He may be sleeping, but his attention was finally tuned to any disturbance.
Hasta luego senor.