Granada, Nicaragua feels like a safe town. Everyone knows everyone's business, the streets are walkable, the houses are brightly colored, and you don't hear of much crime other than petty theft. That's not to say that you throw all caution to the wind, but I've felt safe living here. Until this past weekend. Last Thursday, a single American 49-year-old woman, Lemon, who owns a bar in Granada and has been robbed twice in the past few months, was raped multiple times and hit over the head with a vase that essentially crushed her skull by a group of young male neighbors in their 20s. Other neighbors heard her shouting and somehow managed to call the police, who took her to the hospital, where she lay in a coma until she died yesterday.
I had only gone to her bar twice, a cozy bar with bright paintings on the walls and funky lights and rum infusions, and tried to go a few other times with no success (due to the robberies). Apparently she had had some troubled with neighborhood boys in the past sitting on her stoop and being rude in general, and even had some proof that they were the ones who robbed her house the second time since she lined a back entrance with nails that had the heads cut off and the next day their arms were covered with scratches, but the police never did anything.
Last night I went to a candlelightvigil where more than 50 Nicaraguans and foreigners came to offer condolences and pray together and share the grief. I lift up a prayer for Lemon, but also for all women around the world who have to suffer such horrific deaths.
I feel fortunate to be living with a Nicaraguan family on a quiet street where I know almost all the neighbors. Honestly, I do not feel that much less safe after this incident and do not want you all to be worrying about me. It's a reminder to me that this kind of thing can happen anywhere. The really unfortunate thing is that the police seem to be ineffective in this town because they often arrive late to crime scenes or just never arrive at all and don't follow-up on investigations. Hopefully in the future that will change.
(Some pictures, limited that I have, of the bar, Casa de Limon.)