Hello. We've had a wild week. The highlight was a trip to Bamako on Monday to supervise our container being unloaded into the semi truck that was to bring the crates & barrels down to Kadiolo, then on to Ferke. Our transitaire, (call him a paperwork agent to do customs, and arrange transportation for the container)
was excellent. His name is Ali Baba Traore. So for a guy named Ali Baba, he was 100% honest, and did a great job. (even though our colleagues asked if he had 40 employees and a magic lamp) Usually the experience with the transitaire is less than savory. You feel like you've had to fight with him the whole way along. Mr Baba, as I call him was terrific. Even to the point where the crane operator wanted a bribe to do his job to take our container off the train car it came on. Mr Baba was able to argue his way through, and we were able to unload! So I'm thankful for him.
The truck with the container's contents arrived in Kadiolo thursday morning, and we were able to unload everything safely. It is like Christmas when a shipment arrives, you can imagine. And this one had our Christmas presents in it. So even more so...
But our thief problem came while we were still in Bamako.
I had just met with Mr Baba, and payed him his well-earned check. Lisa and Caleb were outside in the car. I get outside, and the car has a flat tire.
So I begin to get out the jack, and Baba's security guard helps me work on the tire.
We're on the drivers side of the car. Lisa and Caleb get out of the car, and stay on the passenger side, but the sliding door was open, and the window was down on the passenger door up front. We decided to call back to Kadiolo to tell Hilary what was going on, and we'd be late getting home. (Joannie, Hilary, and Ben were'nt on the Bamako trip this time.) So Lisa's on the phone, I'm concentrating on the tire.
Lisa notices a guy hanging around, is suspicious of him. She didn't notice until later that her purse was missing from the car.
Her purse was stolen. Credit cards, about $100 in cash, our camera (thus no pics on this blog entry) and worse of all her drivers license. The credit cards have been cancelled, but the camera will be expensive to replace in Mali. We paid about $90 in the states for it, but it will cost more than $200 to replace it here.
The drivers license is more difficult. I'm going to the police tomorrow to ask our friend the commandant if he can give Lisa a paper giving her permission to drive in Kadiolo. It probably won't help in Sikasso or Bamako, but would enable her to drive here without any issues.
This is our first theft experience in Africa. It never happened during our first term in Cote D'Ivoire. Our friends here said, Mali is bad, crime is here. But that's not true. Big cities like Bamako, New York, Chicago, Ft Wayne, St Paul, Montreal, Winnipeg, Minot all have this problem. It is normal.
Anyways, thanks for praying, and like Lisa says, "At least he took it quietly, and didn't threaten us in any way. It is better like this, if it has to be stolen anyway." And we were in Bamako with phone access, so Dad had the message about the credit cards less than 20 min after the fact.