Thursday, April 5, 2012

Robbed pt 2

The car ride to the field location was quiet as we each played out in our minds what might happen next. Upon arriving, the Investigator told the muzungus to wait in the car while he and Sidekick interviewed witnesses and tracked down the Suspect. After what seemed like forever, and many elevated and dashed hopes as person after person knew nothing useful, Sidekick finally motioned for us to come. Straining our necks searching for the bags, we were finally rewarded when the Investigator and the Suspect stepped forward with the hoped for purse!!! The Investigator explained that the Suspect had been collecting scrap metal along the road to Kampala and found my purse lying on the side of the road. When he picked it up, he found my license and SIM cards in it and knew this was the purse of a muzungu. He started calling the contacts on the SIM card until he came upon Nat's number, and here we were. Apparently the thieves had sorted through the things taking everything electronic (and Ally's makeup. go figure.) and put the rest of the things back into my purse, abandoning it along their way back to Kamapala. They even were kind enough to remove the SIM cards from my phone, taking the phone but leaving the cards.

The Suspect (now affectionately referred to as Big Lips) offered to take us to the place where he found my purse just to make sure had hadn't missed anything. So we added yet another body to the already full car and drove to the site. As expected, we didn't find anything; but seriously with the way the day was going, you could never tell. We parted ways with Big Lips, dropped Sidekick off at his home, and went with the Investigator back to the police department to finish the task of filing reports which was so unexpectedly interrupted before. The Investigator promised to keep up the search for our things and said it might be possible to track the thieves through the serial number of my stolen phone. My God is a God is a God of miracles, so if He wants to restore those things, it's certainly not difficult for Him!

All in all, we recovered my Bible, all Nat's and my documents, my purse, my house keys, my Luganda material, and Nat's glasses.

The next day I found my backup camera to have disappeared as well, so if you don't get anymore pictures on the blog for a while, you'll know why!

Have I mentioned lately that I love living in Africa?? I know, random time to say it, but it's true. It wasn't so true the day I found my last camera to be gone on top of everything else. That was my first day to really wish I was home. Or really anywhere but here. The constant concern about people stealing from me, or cheating me, or proposing to me (yes I realize that's not usually on the list of a single girl's dreaded events) all brought me to my first true 'I want to go home!' moment. Thankfully, the Lord helped me to snap out of my pity party and the next day I was much better. As hard as this past year has been, it has definitely made me see more than ever that I just love being here. And I'm so grateful. So very grateful that the Lord allows little old me to be His servant in Mbale. Katonda mulungi obudde bonna!! God is good all the time!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Robbed

So I'm telling a story that should have been told a week and a half ago, but wasn't. But it's just too good to let it pass by. Yes, it's long. But it demands to be written.

Soooo one bright Friday morning, I woke up to go to language lessons as usual, but not quite as usual. Because that day was special. That day Natalie, Ally, and I were leaving straight from language lessons to go on a road trip to Jinja for some much anticipated girl time. We had the whole weekend ahead of us, and it was going to be grand. As I had packed that morning, I intentionally packed my DSLR camera and determined that I was going to be better about taking pictures of the group of us. After lessons, as Natalie pulled up to Margaret's place, she realized that the distribution point for Operation Christmas Child was just up the street, and workers from her children's home, Lulwanda Children's Home, was collecting boxes just then! When she asked me if she could borrow my camera I pulled it out of my bag in the trunk and handed it over. She ran back to the distribution point and got all of her photos. When she returned and we all piled in the car, we commented about what a God thing it was for her to pick me up there, and that the distribution point just happened to be up the street, and so and so forth.

After praying over our trip, we had a wonderful drive sharing life stories and enjoying each others' company. We reached Jinja a couple of hours later and went straight to The Keep, a favorite restaurant of local muzungus and ours too. We decided to leave the car parked at the The Keep after lunch while we did some knick knack shopping down the street.

When we got back to the car, we found that we had been robbed. Theives had broken the lock of the driver side door and stolen everything out of the back seat of the car. That included Natalie's laptop, Ally's makeup bag, my camera, and my purse which had my phone, Bible, digital voice recorder, keys, drivers license, and debit card. They had left all of the big bags in the trunk, but got all of the smaller things from the back seat. You know, the smaller but expensive things. Stunned, we tried to take inventory of what was gone, and tried to figure out what to do next. A nice guy from the Keep went to go ask the local piki men if they had seen anything, which they had not. Then our Sidekick hopped into the car with us to take us to the police station to file a report.

Of course, all of us have watched way too many crime shows, and scenes from CSI, NCIS, Castle, and White Collar were constantly flashing through our minds. So it's rather amazing that when Nat's phone started ringing with a call from my stolen phone, none of us shouted for a trace on the number. Instead Nat shoved the phone at me exclaiming, "You're calling me!" and we then shoved the phone at Sidekick yelling, "this is the stolen phone calling!!! this is the phone which was stolen calling!!!!" He grabbed the phone to talk to The Suspect. As they talked away in Luganda, the three of us looked at each other, hopes soaring, writing the happy ending of all good TV shows in our heads. When Sidekick got off the phone, he told us that the Suspect said he found a blue bag (my purse) with this SIM card in it, so he was trying to track the owner to return the bag. If we could drive 10 kilometers outside of Jinja, he would return the bag.

Enter the Investigator. The local police investigator discouraged us from going, saying that this is a common stunt of thugs like this. In an effort to 'make the fool of us' they would lead us on a wild goose chase around town from one location to the next until they were tired of us. But we couldn't be dissuaded. We after all were well trained in the finer art of property recovery by Kate Beckett herself (cf Castle). Or at least we wouldn't know for sure unless we tried, so Nat, Ally, Sidekick, Investigator, and I piled into Nat's car for the search for Suspect.


To be continued.....