Robbed In Tanzania

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.
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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.

25 comments:

Rohloff Rob in Austria said...

Ohh no! Damn! Sorry to hear this news, but I'm glad you are ok.
I hope you will be able to recover some things but it seems unlikely. Hopefully you can replace the important items of your kit. Sending you positive waves 'Retta, you are a strong one. --Rob

Anonymous said...

You have your magic bike and most importantly you are ok. Time to go shopping for new stuff. Love from Canada. Patti

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear, but happier that you are okay. Sadly, somehow this event is part of your journey. Hope you can get to the next chapter quickly and that it is filled with light and love.

Wylie said...

I'm relieved to hear you're okay. Sadly thievery can happen anywhere, not just in Africa. I had a British biking friend who'd travelled all over Africa with only warmth and kindness, only to have his BICYCLE stolen in Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S. It's hard when you travel in places where so many people have so little and you, even with your meager possessions, appear to have so much in comparison. I too hope you can recover from this and continue on. Do you have travel insurance to cover any of the loss? Also remember that for this one act of violence, you have been gifted by hundreds of acts of kindness. The scales are still tipped in favor of a mostly kind world. If you can, try not to let this one act mitigate and undermine all the good that came before.

Anonymous said...

Aw Rett that blows. I'll never understand why people (everywhere) have to be such ass faces. Sincerely glad you were not hurt. Things are replaceable, but you, my dear, are not! <3 Connie

Anonymous said...

I am sending a small donation to help you replace your gear. Hope you have enough camping/bike gear to continue cycling.

Anonymous said...

As someone whos been robbed whilst travelling I know its hard to do so now, but try to remember all the wonderful, caring people you've met who didn't rob you and treated you with respect and courtesy. Put it down to experience, treat yourself to new shiny shit, and put it in the (already considerably large) bag of stories you've got from your trip. Remembering the good times in Yunnan! Love, Mike

Em said...

Hug! Not fun. I really feel for you. It is only that 0.01% of the world that are b*st*rds but they really can have a major impact. Keep pedaling..

Fadoua said...

I am so sorry to hear. Most importantly, you are fine. I hope that you could enjoy the rest of your amazing trip despite this misadventure!

acid mustafa said...

Awefull , very sorry for you this had to happen to you. I hope you will get back on your feet, pick up things and forget this sad moment. Take it as fate and dont curse your luck,.. a new road will open up for you, a better one infact.

Acid Mustafa

kamranshami said...

Dear Loretta, I am really sorry to hear about being robbed but at the same time happy you are fine and above all you still have your "Pandemic" with you to continue your journey. Regarding loosing your photos and videos please make an account at sugarsync cloud storage to which you tag your folders and it syncs automatically 5GB is offered free and then you add up another 2GB by referrals.

Do let me know if you need any kind of assistance which I might be able to provide in this rather tragic moment of your trip.

With all the best wishes and safe and healthy journey ahead.

Kamran

Gary Roland said...

Glad you are Ok. Been safe, all but you can be replaced


I hike the A.T. and left my backpack many time with out a problem. Yet I know people that had their whole packs stolen in while eat breakfast at a small cafe in a very small town...

Snoring Sage

JAY said...

Felt so bad to read this news, but happy to know you are OK.
Leave this bad patch in backyard of your memory, think of good things you have achieved, We are all proud of your adventure Come on !

akwoman59 said...

I am new to the feed. I am sorry that this happened, is there anything I can do to help you replace your stuff? Money, sending you something? I am in Alaska, USA but can send what I can. Money to your bank? I am heading to Tanzania in March of next year, I will remember you plight when I get there! Good luck and safe travels! akwoman59 from Anchorage, Alaska

Ann Wilson said...

Oh bugger! I know I just wanted to curl up in a ball when my bike disappeared and then there were all the 'if only'-ies that followed. But you are safe and it's only 'stuff' after all. The worst bit is the stolen laptop and camera. They contained information that can't be replaced. As someone else suggested, you could start using something like Dropbox and get your dad to keep emptying it for you but that is another type of hassle that's not always easy to handle on the road. Maybe worth a try though. I hope you feel better for having a good 'waaaah!' online - 'a trouble shared' an' all that. We do take a gamble putting ourselves in these tricky situations and now and again we lose the bet. You'll get over it, you know you will - we all know you will. Keep on keeping on, Ann

Andres Salazar said...

Loretta! I'm glad to hear you're ok. These things are expected to happen sooner or later, but they just become more anecdotes about your interesting journey. I'm a big fan of your blog and adventures and I feel very honored to have met you in Malaysia. Best wishes from Montreal.

Neil said...

What an absolute bummer,I'm really disappointed for you :( Big Hug.
I've taken to storing images, video & blogs on to USB sticks and keeping them with me these days. I also email important stuff to myself too just in case. I hope you don't stay down for too long and keep your faith in the decency of most people.
Keep on truckin' Sister; you're The Bomb! :)XXX

RobL said...

Hi Loretta,
So sorry to hear this enws.
But you can see by the following you have there is a lot more to gain from this. I know it is hard in the immediate future and you could crucify the person/s responsible.
BUT you are a better persdon than them and that beauty and guts will always make you stronger and give you the ability, eventually, to laugh.
Keep goping girl, you are an inspiration to sooo many people, and I look forqard to meeting you in South Africa.
Head up and look ahead to beauty and strength.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Ahh - we are all getting hit it seems - I had contents stolen last week. I may be able to get some stuff over to you from Canada if you'd like - I have a contact who travels back monthly, I can either meet up with you when I am back in TZ in Oct, or you can come here in Zambia/or I can leave it here with trusted people in Zambia as well. Stay strong.

Dave www.tirdofit.ca

Charlene Love said...

OH NO thats shit I'm sorry! But like you said, at least you weren't hurt - you are still alive and safe. And you still have pandemic! I know the few material possessions you have with you are very close to your heart, but at the end of the day they are just that > material possessions. Keep your head up and bike all your frustration away!!

pedro ferreira said...

well! sorry to ear that u been robbed, don't have words to up lift your spirit, only time will cure that feeling, but then, i'm glad that you're ok, so keep the adventure going.

Pedro.

Loretta Henderson said...

Thanks everyone for the well wishes...I may of been robbed of my behavioral meds but not to worry I still have my straight jacket. LOL I pedaled light into Mbeya, Tanzania (nice town), I am about 100km from the Malawi border.

Anonymous said...

Hi Loretta, good to read you continued on after the robbery.

I guess robberies allways have a sort of irony put into them. Since we met in India we got robbed twice: once on a break from hitchhiking on a our first tourist bus in two months (in thailand they actually drug you through the widely open air condition).
the seconed time was even more painfull, and also more ironic: on a sunday morning, a day before sending our request for a chinese visa, a day after finishing a long 1,500 KM strech (Pnom phen-Vientiane) and a second, just one bluddy second after i say out load "finally, a regular day", a biker snached our personal begs (with the passports) and left us to deal with Laos and Thailand beurcracy.
Back then the irony hurt us the most, because now when we are in Italy after covering 15,000 KM by hitchhiking, the irony becomes the sweet part of it all.
Just like the wind will keep on blowing for you and your bycicle wheel keep round, the irony will turn, and maybe allready turned, from pain to sweetnes.

We love you from Italy
Mateo and Ella

oh and you probably don't remeber us, but you brought new wind to our trip in an innocenct hour of talk and that's what's important on the wondering road.

MzunguEriki said...

Sorry it happened. Feel ashamed of my adopted country for what happened.

LuneStaar said...

Damn! Loretta, Happy you are ok, but sorry for the loss!

Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"

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