What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gone missing

So the day started out tremendously. Met with bankers here, got their terms of service ("bastards no matter where they are" I quote Dave the self proclaimed capitalist here). But decided not to open a bank account as we needed to supply our constitution and meeting minutes. Which we don't have and formalizing them means formalizing our board - which I was not ready to do. As I said to Yapo, I do not trust Kaps and am not prepared to put him on the board. I said, in two or three months, time will show where he stands, and I think it will not be on the board. Turns out it was only 2 to 3 hours.

But anyway, back to chronology. We headed to the mayor's office, met with the city development guy as the mayor was out. Good conversation. Then out front we saw Eric (the chairman) right as we were trying to call and find him. Perfect!! Went over to his house and talked solar, diaspora funding, and MIT. He loved it all. Best meeting we've had. So we ran straight out and wrote up a memorandum of understanding for the diaspora funding and managment program. Great!! Two MOU's and a whole lot of excitement.

From there I was supposed to stop at Lindsay's and get my shirt back she used in the first white people villages, she wasn't home so I headed back home to start thinking of packing and check on a flight change. Got in, did some things, talked to my mother about the flight, then gave a call to Cheap-o-air!! Sorted, headed back in two weeks time. They had a flight for TODAY, next monday, and two monday's, took the 29th. (still feel like I'm cheating... Even though it is the best business decision).

Anyway, packed my day stuff (always take journal, charger, etc.) and headed to Lindsay's... Wait, outta credits after calling the US twice and sitting on hold. Let me grab some cash... Ummmm... Feels a bit light.about $300 plus dollars too light. Someone stole some of my money. The money to pay for the ticket change. But then they left some as well, huh?!?

My money is in a money belt which was tucked/zippered deep into a pocket in my bag. You'd only find it if you were searching for it. I got upset, I left the house, saying money was missing to Mama on the way out.

I went to Yapo's and told him. He was upset. We then saw Kaps, I told him. He looked down and seemed very concerned about it. We went back to the house. I was angry. Kevin was there then, he and Yapo were trying to figure it out, be consoling. But I knew. I knew exactly where it went.

I went out to Kaps and told him: "I have no reason to suspect anyone but you Kaps". But then asked him to look me in my eyes, and I said, Kaps, but I understand why someone would take it, need it. I understand conditions and things here. I told him about Jean Valjean and Les Miserables, stealing bread to feed his family. I told him I don't see much of a problem with it under such circumstances. Desperate times call for desperate measures. To which he responded: no Tim, stealing is never ok, I disageed, but agreed that it was not right.

I wanted him to know that I didn't blame him. Just as you can't blame the capitalist business manager for laying off workers (its his job and family on the line if he doesn't), you can't blame a poor person for doing what they must to survive and look after his or her family. We all do what it is that we must to advance and/or survive in the world's we live in.

So I said to him, Kaps, I just want it back. That is the money to change my ticket so I can go back to the US and get us all money and jobs. Then he said, Tim, the land lord came today, he is raising the rent. We can't afford it. He never admitted guilt, but what else could it mean? He had just come from meeting with the landlord though, so where do you think that money had gone and now was? Kaps knows me well enough to know what I am here for. I am here to try to help, to try to help everyone, including him. I love his family, they have treated me like gold. What a shame.

I told him, I am leaving to go to Lindsay's. I will be back later and I don't care how money gets in my pouch or who puts it there. I will ask no questions and we can go ahead exactly as planned. I understand, it is ok.

I would respect him SO much for taking ownership of it. Accepting responsibilty and giving it back. It takes a far stronger person to admit to a lie than it does to even be honest. But that was not where we were when I walked in tonight. Nothing. I must say though, I doubt he has it. He also owes me $175 for two hard drives still. $500.

The biggest thing with all this as well is that I was aware of all this and of all the naysayers that told me not to trust people. But I made a conscious decision. I am living here, they are feeding me, I can't carry my money belt everywhere, I will trust them.

"if you don't trust the people, you make them untrustworthy" -Lao Zi.

It seems from either side the old man could be right. I lost trust in Kaps, and where are we now? Or was it that I never should have trusted him? I chose to trust, that is the world that I want to live in, therefore that is the way I will live my life. As it is, for right now, this way of life has left me with less money, but an opportunity for something more. Yapo thinks the money will be returned, he thinks it is probably Kaps that has done this. He is sick, this is not what he wants me to think of Sierra Leone. But it is where we are. Tomorrow morning is different. I still hold hope in a lesson learned, in an understanding given, and better people emerging on the other side. As I said to Eric about our plans today, "It is a dream, but it is a nice dream!" Shall we live it? I would hope so.

Needless to say though, I am a bit sick with it. I need to catch up mentally and emotionally, and I am very low on money. So I changed my flight to next Monday. It wasn't too late, costs the same as in two weeks. I still want to climb the mountain, maybe I will. But I don't think I'll be into it. Won't be able to just let go and enjoy. We'll see. But I'll be home Tuesday. So soon...

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