Parties in a police station...
It was not all barbequed fish and frolics during the Christmas break. Prior to spending three days waiting for a boat to fill with beer, I had spent a day and a half in a police station. Why? On Boxing Day I had gone down to the lake for a swim with a few friends first thing in the morning. It was a guarded beach so I figured leaving my things there was pretty safe. Normally I wouldn’t take my phone down but we were trying to coordinate a trip with some others a bit later so thought I’d best be able to be contacted. As for the camera – it was a gorgeous day, still early in the morning so I thought I’d take a few photos of the lake, looking fresh in the morning sun.
Stupid really I know.
And while I was in the water I could see some guys – those who were meant to be guarding the beach – around my things and my heart sank as I realized they were probably not as trustworthy as I thought. When I came back to shore it didn’t even surprise me that much that they had gone. Over the next couple of days I walked from this beach to the police station or back about 6 times – to get the police, to come back with the police, to go with the suspects, to come back, to go to see the manager etc etc.
This is also why there is a lack of photos on this blog at the moment. I’m waiting so seeif the insurers will pay up – but til then I have to beg and borrow photos from friends to put on here!
The guys initially denied stealing, then when threatened a bit (I was impressed to see only a bit of kicking and slapping of the suspects – this might seem ridiculous but when I saw a guy who tried to break into my house in Tanzania, at the police station, he was covered in dried blood as he’d been beaten with sticks and boots and threatened with a rock to his head) they admitted that they might ‘know who did it’. So they were given half an hour to come back. When they returned they said the camera, phone and wallet were probably already in the Congo, which is only another hundred metes away from the police station.
Meanwhile I listened as two other complaints were brought forward, one of which was a man who brought in a guy whp he accused of raping a 15yr old girl. This poor girl was asked to detail everything that happened iin front of several officers, random other people (such as myself) who were there on other business and two suspects for another case. She spoke barely above a whisper and the only interjections made by the gruff police officer were for her to speak louder.
The previous case had involved a man in welly boots who had gone to the market that day searching for the guy he now displayed in front of the officers. A few days before he had apparently bought 10 kilos of sugar off this guy in the market. When he got it home he opened the sack and found that though there was much sugar around the ties on the top of the sack (and the man’s hands in the market had been covered in sugar) the sick contained a good ten kilos of sand. Which wasnt going to make anyone’s cuppa tea any sweeter.
Aside from this short entertainment, I still had to hang around much of the day – and the day after to wait for forms to be signed, stamped in blue ink, stamped in black ink, logged in a register and copied out three times scrupulously slowly.
Rwanda involves lots of waiting. And patience. I am learning fast.