A work may take one to different places, even to another country. But when moving from a developed world to Sub Saharan Africa, we sometimes tend to throw caution to the winds and suffer the consequences. Sometime around circa 2000 I heard the story of a Lady who landed in Ouagadougou on work. As was her custom, she had taken preventive vaccinations, equipped herself with credit cards in case things went wrong. What she was not advised or probably did not pay heed to, was not to venture alone to certain neighbourhoods, which she unfortunately did – the consequences, her bag was snatched. Worse, the thief managed to get away. The police did register the complaint and promised to help, which was not a great help. Back in office, she recounted the incident and asked “what could be done?” After a momentary silence, pat came the answer from a colleague “let us go back to the place and ask around”. “Do you think, you can get my bag back? Actually I am not bothered about its contents like credit cards, which I have already called and put a stop on transactions. But my glasses, which I desperately need, without which I cannot do much.” said the lady.
So come next day, the colleague and the lady head back to crime scene. There the colleague motions her to keep quiet and gets into discussion with a few people present. After a while, they get into the car and head back to office. One the way the colleague explains to the lady that one person in the crowd has promised to try and find the person and get her glasses back, but it would cost her. “How much” said the lady. “That is what I wanted to ask you” came the reply. Back at the office, an upper limit of US$ 200 was agreed upon by the lady. Come evening they again head back to the crime scene, and Lo and Behold the glasses are produced, after much bargaining the price is settled at US$ 100.