I visited Yaounde last August and a pickpocket made away with my money unpunished. He pulled it from my hand like he was a shareholder in my company who hasn’t had his dividends for years.
I have been hearing about pick pockets in big cities like Yaounde but never had an encounter with them. I knew I was untouchable, “I be ‘K’ girl nor”. Popular opinion holds it that people who have lived in Kumba, Mutengene and Douala are hardly robbed. My case this time was different. I finally met my match.
This was how it happened
That evening after The Scoop Media Award, we sat at a snack bar at carrefour Obili, the neighbourhood in Yaounde habouring the highest number of English speaking Cameroonians. I left my friends to get some steaks outside. I met these two guys who were roasting ‘cow meat soya’. I chose the quantity I wanted and gave them to heat since it was cold already.
I then moved to the nearby woman roasting chicken. I wanted to get some for my colleague who wasn’t interested in ‘soya’. I watched her do the frying stuff not knowing there were some onlookers waiting for me to finish making my calls. Immediately I moved a step after paying her, I noticed foot steps behind me. Ah, I knew they were those of evening strollers like myself.
But I was proven wrong. As I stretched my hand out to pay the ‘soya man’, this short, dark, bald head, wild looking boy came from no where and forcefully dragged the banknote from hand. I noticed this guy was looking at me since when I went to the Mobile Money kiosk. He hurried away murmuring some words to himself as if he was quarreling with someone. Things just got serious so I ended the call.
‘Aseh eh, you know that boy?” the steaks vendor asked me in shock . For sure I didn’t know this guy but what caught my attention was that nobody went behind him to get the money. Meaning is was a social norm for them. I decided to play cool like them too. But I had to chat with this steaks vendor.
“Na so wuna di do for here?” The guy warned me to be careful when I come to places like the carrefour. He confirmed most of those guys idling around there were on a mission to extort money from JJCs (Johnny just come) like me. I had to pay the second time for that soya. I lost 2,000frs that night.
some boy don para me for outside dey oo. Ei drag the money for my hand time wey I want pay soya man. Thank God say I move na 2k for pay. If na that 5k eehh, I for cry lossis this night. This boy them for Yaounde go show person some tin. Man really need for be careful when ei di cam for this kind place. I said to my colleague when I got inside.
I held my wallet quite close to me when we were leaving the place. Once beaten twice shy. I didn’t want to give them any chance again. However, My 2k saved a soul that night
The truth is, if these guys are really notorious, there is way we can handle them. This is how we can do it
- Always be vigilant when you go to somewhere new. You can ask those who have been there to school you on the norms there.
- Always have money in liquid and illiquid forms. If I didn’t have money in my mobile money account, I am sure I would have trekked back home.
- Be extra vigilant at selling points. That’s where most of the pickpockets wait fro preys.
- Always keep your money in different pockets. Keeping it in one place may land you into trekking from Mvan to Etoug-Ebe.
I know some have passed through more than what I just shared. Do you have a similar story you want to share or can you suggest why these guys are pickpockets? You can do that in the comments section.