6th April 2019
Jordan lost his mobile phone exactly two weeks ago. He was out with his friends on a Saturday night in Senegambia where they usually hang out in one of the many restaurants on the Strip until the wee hours of the morning. Gambia is unusually peaceful and safe for young people at night. It was maybe too safe really – lulling him into a false sense of security even when among strangers.
Anyway what happened was that a (17-year-old) ‘friend of a friend’ of his was involved in a case of under-age driving and had a minor accident close to where they were. So they went over to see how he was and support him when the police arrived and towed the car away. This friend had claimed that he didn’t have enough credit on his own iPhone and had asked to borrow Jordan’s Samsung with which he made several calls to his family and friends.
So far so good. After all the red tape, they had all gone back to the restaurant and had some shawarma to eat. While they were there, however, the 17 year old youth had told them that he was just nipping around the corner to buy some mobile data but as he was stepping out, he had asked Jordan if he could lend him his phone to make a quick call. Jordan let him take his cell phone and leave the restaurant. He and his friends waited for the youth to return but when he didn’t, it gradually dawned on them that he had done a runner.
He had indeed returned – about two hours later – with a cock-and-bull story about having been beaten up and robbed by a band of thieves and, however naive Jordan and his friends were, they still didn’t fall for that one – because everyone here knows that The Gambia is amazingly free of robbers and even pickpockets….
Of course there was no way that they could prove that the youth was lying to them and Jordan came home suffering from the withdrawal symptoms of not being in close proximity to and constant contact with his mobile phone. After venting his anger at the thief and – more excruciatingly – acknowledging his own foolishness in letting a perfect stranger walk away with his phone on such a flimsy pretext, Jordan recovered his balance within a day and in fact seemed to enjoy and flourish in his new-found freedom of not being incessantly hooked up to his device.
He did borrow my phone at night to listen to music and WhatsApp his friends abroad. Other than that, he has remained phone-free until today.
He was in the process of selling his Samsung phone to buy another one – a spare iPhone that William had and which he wanted to gift him with but was dissuaded from doing so by Paul and me since we had bought the Samsung for Jordan’s 14th birthday and he had used it for the past year and a half. So we had asked him to sell it and put that money towards buying the more expensive iPhone from William. He was in the process of showing it to buyers, when the theft occurred.
Yesterday, we gave him the money he had received for his birthday and for Christmas from his grandma and aunt together with a contribution from us towards it, and he went off triumphantly to buy the phone from William.
I am actually very thankful for the theft of his mobile phone because it served to teach him some very important life lessons that he would not have been able to learn effectively in any other way.