Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sidewalk Robbery

This afternoon, (Tuesday) I was walking down Cairo Road (like Main Street in downtown Columbia). I had just left the passport office and was swinging by the local grocery store to buy a bottled water before going back to work. As I approached the store on the sidewalk, a boy stepped out in front of me saying "Hey Mzungu!"

It's normal for Zambians to call us white Americans "Mzungu", but it is not normal for them to get in your way as you try to walk down the street. As soon as I realized that he was trying to slow me down, I reached for my back pocket to make sure my wallet was still there. (Usually, I walk with my wallet in my front pocket when I'm in town because of all the thieves, but today I forgot.) When my hand reached my pocket, I felt something...unusual. Someone else's hand!

It's a common scam here in Zambia and I'm not the first ACTION missionary who's fallen victim to it. One guy distracts and another swoops in to make a quick steal. I'm not quite sure I did what Jesus would have done, but when I felt the guy's hand on my pocket, I quickly shoved him and then turned back and shoved his partner in crime. I told them that if they tried that again that I would beat them! Again, not sure that's what a missionary's response should be, but it was my gut reaction. I did pray for these guys after leaving the scene though. :-)

There is no moral to this story, I just thought I would share one of the trivial things that we have to deal with here every once in a while. The desperately poor sometimes go to desperate extremes. It seems that crime is on the increase lately in Lusaka as we've heard more and more stories of people being car jacked or robbed. Generally, people do not get hurt, as violent crime isn't all that common, but it has been happening more lately. As you pray for us, please pray for our protection and for us to be on alert!

1 comment:

Christy said...

Wow, fast thinking! Love your honesty - the whole story made me laugh. I mean, I'm sorry you have things like that to deal with so regularly, but it's funny to me on this side of things knowing it all ended well and that, even across the world and daddy of 5, Brent is still Brent. :-)