I did not feel like an open, loving person yesterday.  It felt pretty horrible, actually, but I am not sure I would have done anything different in hindsight.  Carl is away, so I am home alone.  The kids were at school.  It is a common occurrence in South Africa for people to “hoot” (honk) at your gate when they arrive to your home.  I heard the hooting, but I wasn’t expecting anyone.  I looked out the window, but did not recognize the car.

We are taught in SA to be very careful of people coming to your gate wanting in.  It is common for criminals to impersonate municipal workers, etc to gain access to your property.  So I felt nervous.  The car had no business labels on it and there was a man and a woman in the car.  The woman got out.  She was not in any official uniform of any kind.  She said they had some boxes to deliver to this address.

I was not expecting boxes.  Usually couriers will call ahead so that you are expecting them (to prevent this very thing from happening.)  My heart started beating faster.  My immediate thought was “they are going to get me to open the gate and then they are going to rob me.”  Trying VERY hard not to be judgmental or stereotypical…  I probed for more information.

I am not expecting boxes.  Where are they coming from?  Can I see a receipt of some kind?

She then did pull out a receipt – it looked legit, but I still felt so ill at ease.  They asked me to open the gate so that they could drive in a deposit the heavy boxes at my doorstep.

I said no.

I felt horrible.  I am sure they thought I was judging them unfairly.  But the crime in our area is so rampant, and I just did not feel at peace about letting them in.

So they left the boxes outside the gate.

I apologized that I wasn’t willing to open the gate.  They said, “okay.”  I am sure it did not feel happy, peaceful, or kind to them at all.  For that I truly feel awful!

As soon as they drove off, I opened the gate and could barely even move these heavy boxes.

Turns out they were legit.  They were full of golfing magazines for Seed of Hope’s upcoming Golf Fundraiser.

Then I felt even more like a heel.

How to find a good balance between trusting people and also being wise to the ways of the rampant crime in our community….   Yesterday felt like a fail.

But in other ways, I am still alive; I was not raped; we have all our belongings.  Was I too overly cautious?  I am sure my husband will say no, but my heart still feels conflicted.  

4 Responses to Unexpected
  1. Grandma Reply

    I am so glad that you were careful. I understand fully the conflicted feeling. Everytime we pass a hitch-hiker I feel guilty. What if it is someone who truly needs help. God go with you dear daughter!

  2. Joyce m Reply

    Please don’t feel guilty for protecting yourself. If your children had been there you would have had a very strong conviction to protect them. You are just as importantly. If something bad had happened you and everyone else would feel regret. I think the fail was on the side of the delivery people for not calling first or having the proper uniform.

    • Michelle Reply

      Thanks for your encouragement. Carl is home now and confirmed to me that I did the right thing in his eyes too. Hope the delivery people did not have bad days after that experience though!

  3. Amanda Reply

    Better safe than sorry – but I completely understand. We try to give people the benefit of the doubt here in Tanzania, but it doesn’t always turn out well. We’ve been robbed twice, so now I tend to be more cautious and just hope they choose not to be offended. :-/

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