Village Drama

Who is the thief? Housekeeper #1 (left), School Manager (right), or Housekeeper (not pictured)?

Who is the thief? Housekeeper #1 (left), School Manager (right), or Housekeeper (not pictured)?

I’ve yet to mention a particular incident on my 2nd day at Malaihka School in Munenga Village…

It was a Friday and the boys were set on a journey towards a nearby village in which a funeral was presiding. In village life, whenever there is such an event, everybody attends. And most people attend on foot under the blistering sun. Mr. Joseph, who manages Malaikha’s workers and facilities, asked me, “Do you want to go to a funeral today? It’s not that far.”

Did I have a choice? Plus, it was my 2nd day and it would be an experience. An experience it would be…trekking over 15 miles in the unforgiving heat had left me numb to the bone and my throat craving for liquids as I’d stupidly thought the “not that far” journey would actually not be that far.

Upon returning, I ran into my cell of a home, undisturbed that chickens had entered my room, and instantly gulped down a liter of water. The water was warm, but I would have guzzled down the nearby puddle of mud if not for my still intact senses. My thirst quenched for the while being, and I proceeded to check my belongings due to my paranoid nature. However, the first thing that I checked, my wallet, was entire wiped out minus my cards. 500 Kwachas. 60 USD. It was not a gargantuan sum of money…but I subsequently suffered a panic attack searching for my Canon 6D camera, my passport, my extra money, and my Macbook Air. Whew, everything was intact, but I quadrupled checked everything and rushed to my fellow volunteer Katharina’s house to explain the situation.

After explaining the situation, it dragged out more dramatically than I had wanted. It was not a huge sum of lost money for me, but it was more than a month’s salary for the villagers. So who took the money? No one was around except the housekeepers, Madam Clara (school manager), Katharina, and a few visitors. We spent the next few countless nights speculating, but the money would forever be lost. But I had a few suspects, and the suspicions grew when I found out…

2 weeks later, Harriet, the housekeeper was caught messing with the villagers’ husbands. Even Madam Clara’s. Apparently, it was OK for the men of the village to have several wives, but it didn’t mean the wives enjoyed that. I was told it could potentially be dangerous and lethal for Harriet to stay around…that the only thing protecting her was golden aura surrounding the school.

That night, Madam Clara discussed the situation with us, and she wanted her out ASAP. Money was collected to pay for her salary, and she would leave the next day. Later that night, Harriet pulled aside me and Katharina to explain that she did not do it. We were only volunteers. We had no say. My next thought was to protect my belongings. Was SHE the culprit who took my money? Who took my money to buy herself some alluring panties from town to attract the village husbands…maybe not in that way, but I was paranoid enough to run to my room, lock my door, and pack my belongings in case shit went down the next day.

Shit did not go down the next day. Harriet had confessed and apologized dearly enough for Madam Clara to give her one more chance. And dinner was also saved for the next day, and the day after that.

However, the story keeps going. Apparently, there has been a school thief on the school  grounds. Joseph, who keeps track of the food items in his house and possibly the most religious person I know, informed us that there has been someone stealing food on a consistent basis for some time now. However, given his angelic persona, he has yet to accept that she has a bad heart, although he has even seen her steal with his own eyes. That person happens to be Madam Clara, the manager of the school. And it all made sense now…the pasta she cooked for me and Katharina when we visited her house…the same exact school pasta. Nobody in the village eats pasta. Nobody.

So who stole MY money? It’s gone for sure. And I’m not willing to give up night and day to continue investigating. It’s all played out to be a good story thoughat Malaihka, but I will be leaving in 3 days. I just need to keep my belongings safe for another 3 days.