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Friday, August 24, 2012

The Beggar and My Camera

Hey Guys,
Happy Friday!  My sincere apologies for my MIA (Missing-in-Action)-ness. I’ve had quite an interesting past couple of weeks and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
First and foremost, I lost my camera in Lagos. Alongside all the pictures I promised you. Of Monrovia. Of Lagos. And of everything in between. :-( :-( :-(
Although my mother thinks differently, I’m convinced the loss of my camera isn’t ordinary. For those who believe in “other” powers, what I’m about to tell you will make sense. To others, I’ll seem to be nothing more than a superstitious blogger.
It was a sunny afternoon. My ink-smeared calendar read that I had barely 2 days left in Monrovia. I was happy, not only because the end was nigh. But also because considering the extremely moody weather I had been experiencing in Liberia, the sun seemed to have come out to say good-bye.
So we took a walk to the Monrovian market. It was as crazy as Ogbete market in Enugu, Nigeria. Maybecrazier. My ears were being traumatized by uncoordinated car horns. My nose was being punished by the smell of stale poodles of brown water mixed with all sorts of food. I held onto my sling bag as I continuously attempted to avoid everything “dirty”.
We had barely settled into the clustered yet crowded fabric store when a woman came to beg for money. She was carrying a child who seemed to be about a year old. She was breastfeeding this child as she begged for money. Her breasts were out and as the child had his fill, she stood barely 2 inches away from us begging for money. I didn’t have change so I told her so. So did everyone else.
That wasn’t enough.
She stood there relentlessly. I said nicely again that we didn’t have change. Then she brought herself and her breast closer as she begged. I couldn’t even understand the words she spoke. So I turned away in an attempt to focus on a pink material I was considering for a long gown.
Then she poked me.
I turned and said “please stop touching me”. She brought herself and her breast even closer. I turned away again. She grabbed me this time. I turned and said, “please don’t touch me”.
Then I had an idea. The idea that I believe stole my camera away from me. I pulled my beloved pink Canon (Hailey, that’s her name) out and threatened to take a picture if she won’t go away. When she refused to heed my threat, I took one picture. Then another.
She didn’t budge. So I gave up and returned to considering the pink material with the brown circles.
The next time my attention was called, the woman with the breasts in her child’s mouth, out in the open market was saying something really loud. She was cursing at me. I couldn’t hear everything she said thanks to the thick Liberian accent but I heard “wherever you take that camera and my picture to” and everything else, which seemed like a curse. I kept saying “back to sender”.
I deleted the pictures from Hailey before I left the Monrovian market that day. But the image of the woman who put her breasts in my face was never deleted from my mind. I worried. I have never been cursed. At least to my face. So I wondered what her cause meant. Everyone I told said I shouldn’t worry about it. So, I let it go.
Fast forward 9 days in Lagos Nigeria. Using a hired taxi, I met up with some high school friends and saw the movie Last Flight to Abuja, with my two baby sisters Dera and Nazo. On our way back to my aunt’s house, Dera and I exchanged Hailey several times trying to get good shots of the Lagos traffic and all its interesting features. After 2 hours in Lagos traffic, we got to my aunt’s. My baby sisters quickly exited the taxi into the house while I struggled to gather my belongings. The driver handed me my car charger as I stuffed what seemed to be my phone and Hailey into my already full sling bag.
I wasn’t paying full attention as I got out the car when I heard something fall into the car. But before I could complain, the driver handed me my phone. I told him I thought I had Hailey as well and I quickly set my things aside to look for her. 

Just as I was about to move the front seat, where I heard her fall, Nazo came out the house to inquire as to why I hadn’t come in.
Me: I’m looking for my camera. I think it fell.
Nazo: Dera has it.
So I stopped looking, without question. Without doubt. I entered the house at peace believeing Hailey was safe. Weirdly enough, we didn’t talk about it till the next day when my mom suggested I take a picture of a unique scenery.
Me: Dera pass me my camera
Dera: I don’t have it.
I thought I didn’t hear her.
Me: Huh?
Dera: I don’t have your camera. You have your camera.
Apparently, Nazo assumed if I didn’t have it, then Dera did because we had been exchanging it in the car.
Dial. Ringing.
Me: Hi Driver, How are you?
Driver: Im fine. Thank you.
Me: Please I think I left my camera in your car. Please can you check for it.
Driver: Its not there. Your sister said your other sister had it.
Me: How can you conclude that without looking?
Driver: Ehhhh?
Me: Please just look for it for me. I have over 200 pictures on it.
Driver: Ok.
5 minutes.
Dial. Ringing.
Me: Did you find it?
Driver: No its not here.
That’s how Hailey got lost or that’s how Hailey got stolen. Or that’s how Hailey got sold. Only Hailey knows what happened to her.
For days, it hurt. I really didn’t know who to blame. Myself, because I should’ve continued looking, anyway. Myself, because I was so close to finding Hailey. Nazo, for saying something she wasn’t sure of. Myself for not asking Nazo to go inside and ask Dera while the car was still there. Myself, for not asking Dera after we came inside the house.
Or the beggar who was breastfeeding her child in my face.

What do you think?

Have a blast-filled weekend! 

Stay Inspired.....

1 comment:

Ada papa said...

As sad as it is, just tell God to use that camera to bless whoever has it or stole, that every time they use,the Holy Spirit will draw them even closer to God. With God, there is always restoration, so according to Joel 2:25, ask God for repayment, and God's repayment is always greater than what was stolen from us.
While that wont bring your pictures back, lets just say God has greater plans for you, and will probably even take you back there at a higher level, to recapture those pics. He cares that much for us.

God bless you