Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, may be moving to Retalhuleu, Guatemala, according to a post asking for advice on an expat forum. This is speculation, but since Jill and Derick have not been forthright about their intentions – not even to supporters who have donated money to their nonprofit, Dillard Family Ministries – their friends and foes alike are massively guessing about what the two are doing.
The hunch that Jill and Derick are headed to Retalhuleu is based upon several things:
- They went to Guatemala twice this summer, once on a tour of three Central American countries and the second time they only went to Guatemala.
- They went on the second trip to study Spanish for two weeks. Since nobody has to go all the way to Guatemala just to study Spanish, they might really have been hunting for a place to live. In Antigua, their destination for that trip, tourists don’t have to pre-register to take Spanish. There are dozens of language schools for tourists, and most classes are one-on-one with private tutors. You just show up and sign up.
- Guatemala is safer than El Salvador because it has far less criminal gang activity. Also, Jill and Derick claimed that they were overwhelmed in El Salvador by the attention their “white baby” received. Another missionary couple recently had their white baby kidnapped in El Salvador in a frightful baby-trafficking scheme.
- They love taking selfies by the sea, and Guatemala has more frontage on the Pacific Ocean than El Salvador or Honduras, the other two countries they explored this summer. Derick is even teaching baby Israel to swim.
But the most amusing evidence of a Guatemalan destination comes from a forum post for expats living in Guatemala.
First of all, notice that the word, Retalhuleu, is misspelled in the post. The poster identifies as female. She says she is from Springdale, Arkansas. Jill has lived her entire life in the Springdale area. The post was dated July 22, which was a week before the Dillard’s first tour ended on August 2 and their flight back to the States. The poster seems to be clueless about what she is doing, doesn’t appear to have done her research, and has scheduled a move without so much as verifying how much the move will cost. Does this sound like something Jill would do/write? You be the judge.
In any event, the owner of the contents of a personal shipping container has to be physically present in Guatemala to personally take delivery of the shipment and pay taxes (up to 40% of the actual cost of household goods, plus insurance and shipping charges, and a Value Added Tax of 12%), customs charges, and fees. Interestingly, Jill Duggar, husband Derick, and baby Israel show up again in Guatemala on August 16 for a two-week stay in Antigua. Antigua is a three-hour drive from the Retalhuleu City. It’s even a shorter distance to the borders of the Department of Retalhuleu, which is like a district.
Judging from the overland move from the port of entry to the interior destination for a 20 ft. shipping container – which, by the way, is huge and can hold the contents of a fully-furnished, six bedroom house – that move will cost about $10,000. None of the costs will be tax deductible for Americans unless they actually stay in the foreign country and work there.
Would the Dillards actually like living in Retalhuleu? Actually, they might feel right at home there. Retalhuleu boasts a supersized, water theme park (Xetulul), a mega Walmart, and a mall with a food court with McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.
Retalhuleu also looks like a great place for Jill Duggar and Derick’s Dillard Family Ministries to entertain other American volunteers while they look for the last remaining souls to convert in Guatemala, a nation with a 65 to 70 percent Catholic population and an estimated 35 to 40 percent Protestant affiliation.
Fans who are waiting for the touted TLC special showing the Dillard’s missionary work in Central America might not find the answers they want when that show airs. When the 19 Kids and Counting reality TV show introduced the world to Derick Dillard on May 6, 2014, it filmed Jill and her father Jim Bob flying to Nepal to meet him for the first time and see what he was doing in that country. The episode, “Going the Distance for Love,” never filmed Derick doing volunteer work, missionary work, visiting with friends, or even attending a church. Instead, it showed the three going to restaurants, visiting tourist shops, and going to the local monkey amusement park.
One thing is for certain: until Jill and Derick honestly divulge to supporters what they are doing with the donation money they have collected and exactly where they intend to be missionaries in Central America, people will continue to speculate.
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[Intro photo from Instagram]