That brown door does not look right, I think to myself as I stand facing my guest house room door, the lock has been broken, I have only been gone for about twenty minutes, I think to myself as I gently push the door open at the Baranga Guest House in Kibondo, Tanzania. Everything I own has been scattered onto the bed. The dirty white top sheet is covered with the contents of my three panniers and sprinkled with the red dirt from the arid rough road.
I lean down over the mess to take a quick inventory of my belongings. As expected, Prozac (my laptop) is missing, my camera gone, bicycle pump, sleeping map, sleeping sheet are gone, etc. “This is not looking good”, I say out loud to myself as I realize that madness has permeated my reddening tear ducts, the brown door with rusty hinges is still open. The housekeeper walks by and smirks. I close the door with Willy (my enormous knife) in my hand, mad, crying, a little bit scared and hoping that the robbers will not be coming back. I sit on the dirty bed amidst the cluttered remains of my belongings and try to sort out what has happened.
2 hours later, two police officers arrive. The utterly unhelpful senior officer is drunk, and laughing. The round chubby housekeeper with the red bandana remembers seeing two men but doesn’t know who they are. Yeah right, I think to myself. The boy in charge of the reservations swears he was not there. Good one, I think to myself as I tuck my lips into each other, trying not scream BULL SHIT. I say goodbye and close the door, the hinges creak as I shut the door. I maneuver Pandemic the Magic Bicycle’ pedal between the wall, the bed and the door in order to latch the door securely shut. The lock is broken.
I sit on the dirty littered bed in the mess, still crying and justifying, rationalizing and convincing myself that I knew I would eventually get robbed and I always just hoped the robbers would not hurt me. I am not hurt, this is going to be ok, is this not some strange right of traveler’s passage… as robberies go, this is not so bad... I think to myself not yet, but almost laughing. And, in that moment sitting on the bed at the "scene of the robbery", I realized that I am not crying about Proscak (my laptop), camera, photos, video and writing lost, camping gear or other material possessions but at the irony of having only gone to the Baranga guest house in Kibondo in the first place to get some sleep.