A fellow volunteer once remarked that the only time anyone in South Africa was in a hurry, there was a crime in progress. That's a fairly keen observation, although I would expect to see a lot more people on the run given the level of crime here. It's quite high here, regardless of category. From murder to muggings, this country has it all and in great quantity to boot. Fortunately, I have not dealt with the more serious and violent end of the criminal spectrum. No, I've been busy being bludgeoned by petty theft.
People steal from me with alarming regularity, but what really gets my goat is what they steal. It's bizarre.
Since my arrival in 2009, I've lost:
-R200 and some inexpensive jewelry (from a suitcase that contained wildly expensive electronics)
-dog collar (from neck of dog)
And the list goes on... I've had dishware nipped from the wash bucket, art supplies taken from my desk, essentially anything not nailed down is fair game for thieves (be they grabby-handed children or sticky-fingered adults).
Most frustrating to me is that people do not steal what would be most useful to them. My wallet has never been filched, my cameras and computer are untouched, and my cell phone is perfectly safe in spite of my flaunting it wherever I go. No, people do not steal the things they could benefit most from, instead they seem to steal from me whatever it is that will make my immediate future more difficult. Shaka's collar wasn't too expensive, but it was of no value to anyone else so why did they bother except to make me miserable? This type of petty theft is too personal. It's just mean and demoralizing. I'm also a little concerned about how I'm going to open future canned goods now that my can opener's been pinched. (Someone borrowed it and failed to return it, claiming that someone else stole it. Either way, all my tantalizing tinned food will have to stay that way... Tantalizing, and surrounded by an impenetrable fortress of tin).