Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stolen Wallet

“I’m waiting for you outside ShopRite next to GapCo,” I told Augustine as he made his way to find me. I first met Augustine when he and Gabriel took me for a long training walk as I prepared for The 3-Day 60 mile Susan G. Komen walk. I last saw this friend at Lauren and Andy’s wedding and seeing his smiling face through the crowd was a joy.

He took the burden of dragging my suitcase, laden with gifts for the people of Paidha, through the dirty, rocky roads of Kampala while I shouldered my backpack. I make it a practice to zip the pack closed leaving the pulls on the lower side of the pack so that it’s more difficult to unzip. However, I’d not transferred my wallet, phone, and keys from the small pocket on the outside to the inside of the pack.

We hiked the streets toward the bus station. I followed Augustine closely…although I knew where I was and generally where I was headed. As we rounded the corner near the station, the crowed thickened (if that is even possible in an already jammed city) and I felt a small tussle on my pack. I attributed the tussle to the crowd but must admit the thought of thievery crossed my mind. Less than 30 seconds later we stepped into the bus office and I dropped my pack to the floor to get out the money for my bus ticket. My wallet was gone. It’s contents:

2 pictures of Rick and Tom with Micah and Lucah when they were babies
Nail file
List of phone numbers (sorry)
4 passport photos
My motorcycle permit
My cosmetology license
A few other papers I may not recall
150,000 UGX
$100.00 USD
Some odd KES
A phone card
My driver’s license
My Barclays ATM card
My personal Chase ATM card
My business Chase ATM card

Things NOT in my wallet:

My passport
My flash drive
My international driver’s license 

Would I still be able to go to Paidha without money? Augustine, such a sweet man, got on the phone with Lobu while I hauled out my computer and stuck the portable modem in the USB slot. Logging into Chase to get the instructions for cancelling my card, I found that a phone call was required. Praise the Lord twice – I still had my computer and I still had my phone. I got the message through, from what I could understand on this cross Atlantic call, and sent an email to my mom asking that she double check. Praise the Lord again for a really smart, really helpful momma.

Augustine was so sensitive to how I was feeling and asked if I wanted to go home or if I still wanted to go to Paidha. Press on (although I think I said something more like I can’t go if I don’t have any cash). Lobu wired money via MTN from Namulanda to Kampala (or wherever we wanted) for Augustine to pick up on my behalf. Praise the Lord again for the simplicity of getting money to Kampala and for Gabriel even having any money to send me and for so willingly sacrificing it for me. Ronnie called to check on my little broken heart too.

By now all the fixes were in place and the adrenaline shock was wearing off. Something akin to feeling stupid (which, for those of you who know me well, know this was the strongest of the variety of emotions), insecurity, vulnerability, and fear began to settle in. Augustine, in his infinite wisdom asked if he could pray for me. His soft sweet prayers were exactly what I needed. I cannot even express how blessed I am to have so many friends who love me.