Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fences and neighbors deux

The loquats have all been picked or rotted and the situation with my neighbor-boys seems to be doing the same. Two weeks ago, a friend staying with me let the usual group into the yard while I was in class. Farrin knew that I let them pick the fruit but didn't know that I hung out and supervised when they came by, so she wandered back into the house for a while. Later, she took the broom out and offered them 10dh to sweep the walkway, which they halfheartedly did. She went back inside and got distracted, only to find later that the boys used the broomstick to push a window open - she caught them trying to lift a shoe through the metal bars. They left, but after Sam got back from his short trip, he discovered that his laptop power cord, a blazer and two dress shirts had gone missing, vanished out that window.

Farrin paid for a replacement computer charger and we dismissed the incident, resolved simply not to let the boys back in the yard. Two days later, three of them rang the bell and asked for water. I glowered and yelled at them in a broken attempt at darija about the thefts but still took them a bottle filled from the tap because it was, after all, a hot day. They rang the bell again, demanding food and money. One started to come into the yard. I closed the gate on him, and after ringing the bell another ten times, they left.

Today they were back. They asked for food and I said no but went to fill a water bottle again. When I returned they had already gone, but an older woman was at the gate and accepted it with thanks. An hour later, I looked out my back window to see the ringleader standing in my back shed with a black plastic bag in hand. Yelling for Sam to join me, I stepped into the yard only to find him vanished. Standing at the clothesline, wondering where he had gone, I heard a noise and realized he was still hiding in one of the outbuildings. I poked my head in and he stood stock still behind the door, pretending I hadn't seen him. Finally Sam came out and half-dragged, half-pushed him out of the yard while I picked up the bag he'd left behind - one of my bedsheets, my blue jellabah, some of Sam's towels, all plucked from the clothesline moments before. He climbed up and sat on a low spot in our wall, jeering.

I need to call my landlords and start hanging my laundry indoors to dry. Thankfully all the windows to the house do latch firmly and we have bars on all of them...but now that the house has become a target I'm not really sure how best to stop the harassment.

3 comments:

Kyle said...

I was a bit worried about something like that when I read part un. I'm glad to see that there are a few things that transcend cultural barriers, like no good deed going unpunished.

scarlettscion said...

I didn't realise they stole Sam's clothes as well!

I suppose you could ask Baghdadi to ask the police to do something; otoh, the police are likely to either a) do nothing or b) torture the living daylights out of them for fun. Perhaps just ask Baghdadi if there is someone he knows to talk to about it? And ask your landlord. My landlord got involved once I told them the rocks they were throwing was damaging *his* door. But mine aren't street children, just neighborhood brats with moms who can yell at them.

KEP said...

yeah, it took Sam a couple more days to notice the missing shirts since he'd left them in my closet for a couple of months and had only happened to hang them on the window latch the day before he left town. oops.