Attempted Robbery

8-8-2013    Bolivia Industrial School

By Kody & Lyli Kostenko

Tuesday morning even smelled like Independence Day. I stashed several watermelons to cool in the creek, and split some firewood for the kitchen, while the kids went to march in Yata to fulfill our legal obligation as an accredited school to participate in a minimum of one civic event annually. This was the first time that I didn’t go with them. While colportuering on Sunday, I had met a family that very much wanted a Bible and I promised to return on Tuesday, forgetting all about the Independence day march. When I did remember, I decided that keeping my word was more important than the parade.

Campus was empty and the silence was uncanny. It was about ten minutes to ten when I finished the chores and headed down the driveway. The highway was empty of truckers and there were few taxis, but there were plenty of private vehicles and a lot more motorcycle traffic than usual. I kept close to the shoulder and kept a suspicious eye on all approaching vehicles. On holidays, ten o’clock is not too early for drunk drivers: rather ironic how Independence Day unveils so many dependents.

I had finished my house call and was about to return to the school when Lyli called. As soon as I heard her voice I knew something was wrong.

“We found Susie unconscious on the kitchen floor in the cafeteria and we are bringing her in to the hospital. Can you check if SEMDA is open today?” The private clinic offers much higher quality health care than the general public hospital. Before I could learn more details, the phone signal failed. SEMDA was closed, and when I finally got through to Lyli again to let her know she filled me in on a few more of the details.

Turns out that a matter of minutes after I left the school premises that morning, a man and a lady showed up at the school and approached Susie. It’s as if they were watching and waiting for me to leave. They claimed to be neighbors looking for their lost horses. Susie remembered that one of our neighbors who, incidentally died in a head-on collision about two months ago while driving drunk, has some brothers she has never met.

“Oh, are you brother to the man who was killed on the highway?” she asked.

“Yes. We are brother and sister to him” Susie understood the man to say. They continued to chat and the visitors seemed to have no intention of continuing the search for their horses any time soon. Susie remembers that they asked her if she were alone and if the students had gone to march in Guayara. She told them they were just nearby in Yata. The lady asked to borrow some cups to drink some Tampico juice that she had with her, and when she offered some to Susie, Susie thought nothing of it. She did notice some powder on the edge of the cup, but she thought it was just powdered Yupi (Bolivian Kool-Aid). A few minutes later she began to feel strange. Thankfully she had the presence of mind to call Cornelio, and she told the visitors that they were on their way back so she needed to go up to the kitchen to finish getting lunch ready. After that she doesn’t remember much, except that the couple got on their motorcycle and left while she went up to the kitchen to check the tofu.

Thank God Susie was not injured and nothing was stolen, not even some cash that was on her kitchen table! We don’t plan to leave anyone here alone again, however, and Susie promises not to accept any more food or drink from strangers! (We were told drugging stunts like this are common practice for thieves in these parts.) Besides that we just praise and thank the Lord for his mercy and for the powerful angel warriors stationed around this mission outpost!

Kody & Lyli Kostenko