Always be prepared

July 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

Last Wednesday, my Media in Ghana group and I woke up to discover that our house had been broken into and we had been robbed while we were sleeping.

When I first heard of the robbery, I didn’t believe it. Nonetheless I jumped out bed and went into the kitchen; I didn’t even put on a shirt or pants (sorry roommates). It wasn’t until I saw my backpack outside of the house, emptied of valuables that I believed what happened. I think we were all shocked because we felt so safe in our house with iron bars on the windows, barbed wire on the fence, and locks on all of our doors.

I brought my backpack in, and automatically went to check for my passport in my suitcase. Our program director (Mama) Leslie Steeves made a point that passports and other important things should be locked in suitcases and hidden away. Mine was far from hidden, but I found that it was still there. At least they only took my computer and iPod, I thought. But I wasn’t angry or sad. It seemed to me that it was just something that happened, a fact we had to face.

Others were understandably angry. They had lost things that wouldn’t be easy to replace. Carson York, a graduate student on the trip, lost his progress on his Masters Thesis (34 pages so far) and all of his research. The most I had lost was my two-weeks worth of work I had done for my internship and my progress on “The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.” Not end-of-the-world material whatsoever.

My few years in the Boy Scouts taught me one important thing: “Always be prepared.” I try to take that to heart. I’m a planner and like to think of various situations and how best to plan for them. Before this trip, I decided not to bring my MacBook or other fancy electronics that could get damaged or lost (aside from a new camera, which was spared). Instead I brought things that I would be able to live without, a cheap notebook and an old iPod. I still didn’t back up any work I did on my notebook, though.

I was prepared to lose these items, but I wasn’t prepared to lose my sense of security. Two nights after the incident I lay in bed and stared at the dark room. My imagination filled itself with images of men in the room, going through my stuff. I’ll admit, I was frightened. This robbery is the most traumatic thing to have happened to me. As a child, against any conscious thoughts, I would imagine people outside of my window, peering in, planning to break in. I was scared into acting like I was asleep, frozen under my blankets. But this phase passed, though I am still paranoid and often imagine things creeping in the dark.

This robbery is just another experience to make us stronger. We have overcome anything Ghana had to throw at us, whether it be tro-tro’s, humidity or food poisoning, and everything that we get past adds to our understanding of the world. I don’t get flu shots for the same reason: what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. This robbery just adds to our immunity against future robberies.

We only have two weeks left in Ghana, and we’re going to make them the best two weeks Ghana has ever seen.


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§ One Response to Always be prepared

  • Madeleine Hayes says:

    Glad that you are O.K. and didn’t lose anything too valuable. Also good thing that you have your passport. Anxious to hear about your Ghana experiences. Love, Oma

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