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April 8 2017

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8:31 PM 4/8/2017

Tonight I went to the plaza.

Ibraim wasn't very interested in talking to me. Fatima and Nada were sitting next to each other but alone, using their cell phones.

I approached them to see if they would want to talk to me but they didn't show that they did so I sat alone for awhile. I decided I would just write.

Then two of the younger girls came over. They wanted use my laptop so I let them. They tried to connect to the internet but there was no wifi signal. I tried to interest them in Paint but they already knew it and weren't interested.

Then I got them to agree to write their names and ages in notepad. Maysa wrote hers and wrote anos 6. I asked what month and she was going to write "cumpli octubre" but then Khitan came over and just took the computer away and started trying to close the notepad without saving it. She didn't know how to do it so she erased everything that Maysa had written and then closed it. Tears almost come to my eyes now to remeber this.

I was depressed all day today. I went for a walk in the morning. Slowly. Looking at all the shops around the nearby blocks. Then I found the Club Espana where I took some pics.

It was a pretty ok place to sit for a while.

But there were a lot of big posters advertising yoga and meditation.

I went back to the hotel and slept till about 6:30pm or so. Eventually my energy came back enough to go back to the plaza. I wasn't ready to handle anymore sad news till then.

It is such a sad situation all the way around. Tonight again I saw that the only ones with pure smiles from just being alive are the youngest children.

I made a little progress I guess when I asked Ibraim how he was feeling and he asked me. I said I was about 5 from zero to ten. I said "Y vos?" and you?

He said 4.

I sensed he didn't want to tell me why 4 so I didn't ask him. Then he walked away. Later Noor, 19, came out of a tent and I smiled and asked her how she was. She said bien. Fine. I said "De 0 a 10"? From 0 to ten?

She didn't know how to answer and said "No se" I don't know. And walked over to her two sisters, Fatima and Nada.

At some point one of the girls wanted to try to ride my bicycle so I put the seat down and let her try.

Khatim kept telling her not to touch it, and she was going to break it. But she saw that it was ok with me to try so she did. She fell down a few times and laughed and I smiled each time.

Omar also came by for a while. He played the jumping game that shows up when there is no connection. He got a high score. Then later Mansoor came up and tried but kept getting a much lower score.

I'm remembering now that Ibraim asked someone, I think it was Mansoor, how much he trusted me from zero to ten. Mansoor smiled and said zero but then they talked some more and Khatim told me he didn't understand the question. I knew it wasn't zero so I wasn't worried.

Ayer Ibraim told me he trusted me 5. Then he asked his father and the father said something in Arabic and the mother smiled and held up all her fingers so it was a 10. I smiled said "Es porque el es mas sabio" That is because he is wiser.

Then I asked Ibraim how much he trusted the uni student next to me. He said 5 also. I asked the student how he felt about that and he said he felt fine since they just met a few days ago.

I laughed and said "Well, 5 and 5 make 10."

Now I am in some kind of theatre. I found pretty much what I was looking for after going past a lot of places that had big flat screens with some soccer game on them. It helped stop me from feeling depressed to remember to keep focussing on what I needed. And it didn't take long before I found this place, a place I had never seen before.

I wanted a place I could bring my bike inside, and sit and write, with internet, where I wouldn't have to buy anything, and that is just what this place is.

I met a friendly person working behind the counter named Sabrina. She helped me connect to a wifi signal and didn't make me buy anything.

When I came in I spoke only English and an older women said "I can help translate for you" so she did.

9:25 PM 4/8/2017
Just talked to a nice, intelligent guy who works here who speaks English well.

He said the public knows almost nothing about what is going on with the Syrian families.

Our conversation motivates me more to tell the story, as I have seen it.

I remember the story of they guy in South Africa... from the movie Cry Freedom. I relate to him now. This is a story the world needs to know about.

The guy I talked to suggested I talk to Mohica, and I just might try to do that.

Tonight I asked Ibraim if he has talked to Pepe since the first day. He said yeah, once Pepe came to their house when they lived in Montevideo, but not since then.

I told the guy I spoke to that it makes more sense to talk about needs than rights and I gave him some kind of example and he immediately agreed with me. Kind of like Stephen Alexander did in New Zealand.

So I will say the time has come to start talking about human needs, including emotional and psychological needs.

It makes sense that if you don't get what you need, you will get sick and or die. So if your psychological needs are not met, it is understandable that you will become mentally ill.

When Khitan and Maysa were fighting over the computer, Khitan kept talking to her in the way she learned here in Uruguay - with a lot of commands like "Let go of it. Go way. Take your hands off."

I have seen this in a lot of countries - older or more aggressive children dominating the others.

After I saw Khitan slap Maysa I was almost going to ask her if her mother hits her, but then we were interrupted or she got up and left.

Like so many 14 year olds she has a lot of unchanneled energy. I really wonder what a healthy life and a healthy community would be like for someone like her. I quickly remember though a couple of things which definitely contribute to her wildness - single mother, and mother who hits her and shouts at her.

As far as I know the children are not allowed to leave the plaza. I asked Ibraim if they had seen the rambla and he said no, only he had because he saw it when he was working.

They are about three blocks from the rambla -the boardwalk.

I asked Ibraim tonight what he thought about the idea of him and I going to Secretaria of Human Rights together to talk to them. He said something like "I will never go back to that office."

Then I said something to check to see if I understood him right and he said "If they want to talk to me they can come here."

I asked who he trust the most there and he said no one. I said who was the worst there and he said they are all the same.



Club Espaņa


The cafe and Sabrina


Before the play starts.


40 Years since the law or decree closing the theatre. This was at the time of the dictatorship in Uruguay.


The law from 1976 saying the theatre would be closed.


The last pic of the night from the theatre cafe - after the play had started and the cafe closed and Sabriana went home.