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

  1. Always be vigilant when you go to somewhere new. You can ask those who have been there to school you on the norms there.
  2. 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.
  3. Be extra vigilant at selling points. That’s where most of the pickpockets wait fro preys.
  4. 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.

Author

Hi, I am Eduke. I am a village girl. I'll love to share my journey with you hoping you share yours too with me.

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