Well, today I went to a completely new part of town..Nkope Village…to visit my Perth friends Ross and Raewyn who are the new Volunteer Co-ordinators for Naturally Africa. Elson gave me very good directions, so good in fact that I felt confident to navigate the dirt tracks by myself. Turns out he got “take the track BEFORE Nkope depot” mixed up with “take the track AFTER Nkope depot”. Hmmm. So here begins the tale…….
When I say track, I mean a soft, sandy, dirt track in the middle of nothing. A couple of girls were walking along it, so I asked them if this was the road to Nkope village and they said no. So of course, I kept going. The next guy had good english and said to take the road off to the right and then it would take me to Thompson House. Great. 1oom down the track, off to the right, was a narrow snake track that I decided was NOT a road, so I kept going straight. I ended up at a T junction in a village. I guessed this was the road, so I turned right. I kept on going and asked another guy for directions. He pointed in the direction I was headed. Great. I took off feeling more confident and slid my way through soft sand and bush. It was when I stopped to have a drink of water that I realised my bag, with my phone, purse and all my cards was no longer in the basket. WOAH. Either it has fallen out somewhere along the track (it was bumpy and I was having a ball off-road) or someone had grabbed it out of my basket when I stopped for directions. Surely not the latter…please!! Anyway, I turned around with dread in my heart and started back the way I came ( I had been riding the dirt path for at least 15 mins). In my gut I had that awful sinking feeling when you are overseas and you are faced with the prospect of no phone/money/cards. Its a bummer, to say the least. So I got to the T junction and spoke to one of the locals, telling him I had lost my bag. After some time I gave him my name,phone number and village, offering a reward if it was found and returned. As I was about to turn back and head home, one of the guys I stopped for directions came riding toward me waving my bag. He found it up near the turnoff and after looking at my ID card, rode on his bicycle all the way to Thompson House to return it. When I wasnt there, he back tracked and found me at the village. Wow. What an angel. I gave him some money as thanks, said a quick thank you to the universe, and went on my way.
I got to the next village and stopped again for directions. This time I got totally creeped out by the guy I spoke too. Maybe I was just being overly cautious after losing my bag, but he wanted to get on the bike with me and show me the way. No way Jose. I have made that an UNDER NO CONDITION rule over here. No one gets on my bike if I don’t know them. Too many people have their bikes stolen this way. Then he starts eyeing my bag. Hmmm. Time to get out of here. “Give me money” he says. I replied that I dont have any, but he says “You are white. You have money”. I said I have none on me and then excused myself and got the flock out of there. Not nice.
Any hoo… I eventually found Thompson House and had a lovely visit with my friends. They brought me 14 Liptons Vanilla Chai sachets and now I am a happy camper. When I got home I sat Elson down and explained the difference between BEFORE and AFTER.