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October 6, 2007

This is a story that is opposite to the one I wrote recently about trust.

I was walking in Kampala, capital of Uganda. People everywhere, going about their business; traffic; fumes; pot-holed roads and lots of obstacles to navigate. I was crossing the road, stopped in the middle to assess when it would be safe to proceed when a young man sprinted past me. It took a few moments for me to realise that he had ripped the fine gold chain I was wearing from around my neck. I was shocked – unsure what to do. Others noticed. Someone asked if I was OK. I told them what had happened and he sprinted off. A crowd formed around me. I don’t like crowds at the best of times. I just wanted to go back to my hotel and hide. Shock seemed to have set in – a bit. A woman, immaculately dressed, told me to calm down – nicely, of course. I wasn’t hysterical, just a bit teary. A few moments later, a young man returned with my chain. I thanked him, and after refusing an escort back to my hotel, returned, shaken, but pretty much unharmed. Or so I thought.

For the rest of my trip I was nervous of anyone walking behind me- a general unease and sense of caution had entered my consciousness. Some might say that was a good thing. I found it disconcerting to be nervous of people who I’ve found to be generous, thoughtful and a pleasure to be around.

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