A few months ago, I reconnected with an old friend from college, Kyle Bowden. I had not seen him for about 8 years, since we were both studying abroad in Uruguay during my senior year. A small group of my friends all decided to study abroad together, and we went during Spring quarter in 2002. After we had been overseas for about 6 weeks, we had an extended weekend, and decided to get out of town for a couple days. We ended up traveling to Suriname and got in pretty late. Just outside of the capital city of Paramaribo was an old brick convent at the base of the hillside. Not having made sleeping arrangements in advance, some of the guys were joking around about staying the night in the convent. I’m sure they would rent us a room for the night right? As the joke quickly came to an end, Kyle said in a rather serious tone. “I am going to spend the night in that convent.”
I laughed at first, but quickly realized that he was serious. He thought he could sneak into the convent and spend the night without being noticed. “No way!” was the unanimous response from the group. But this just made Kyle even more determined. Finally, we decided that we would see just how serious Kyle was about this idea. We made a bet with him. If he could pull it off, we would collectivly pay him $400. And if he could not, he had to buy the drinks for the rest of the weekend.
Kyle gave us his backpack, took a few snacks, and headed up toward the convent. We agreed that we would meet back at the same spot the next day at 11:00am.
Kyle never showed up the next day. And through a very strange chain of events, that one night turned into three long years of isolation and canning fruit.
In 2005, Kyle was discovered and kicked out of the convent. He is currently living back in the States, trying to re-discover himself.
THE PHOTO SHOOT:
You know how high school kids like to yell, and mock people while driving by in a car? I won’t go into the psychology of why they do this, but it seems to be in their nature when a group of high school guys are together. So just imagine a group of high school boys driving along the waterfront, and as they come around the bend, there in front of them is a nun. With her back to the car. How could you not yell, right? I didn’t see them approaching at first, but I heard the screams. Two guys leaning out the windows yelling a Braveheart kind of scream at the nun as they drove by. The other passengers smiling from ear to ear, feeling so proud about scaring and intimidating a nun. Then suddenly, as the car passed, the nun’s face became visible. The screams and smiles stopped as quickly as they had started, and disappeared into complete shock and confusion. It was priceless.