We had an incident the end of last week involving people who were outside our home late at night. Mary sleeps at the far end of the bedroom wing from our room. About 1:15 am she heard loud speaking, what to her sounded like arguing, just outside her bedroom window. Soon after, she saw a short line of people walking by using their cellphones to light their path. And, then she heard two of our door being rattled.
She was pretty shook up, but is a teen that keeps things in. Fortunately, I asked her how her night was, and she let me know. Her report was analytical, but I understood completely that she did not feel safe, even with all the security bars on door and windows.
I related this to Tom, who then passed it on in a terse email to company security. In turn he was copied the various emails showing that each person down the line, including the company that is contracted to provide security for this housing compound was aware and seeking to learn what had happened. The majority of them were basically, "noted, boss", "boss, noted", etc. The key here is to keep rolling the blame downhill.
The next day a white van rolled up in our driveway, and about 6 individuals got out, and started to walk around the front of the house. I went out, asked who they were, and then was apprised that they were the "research" team.
It all boiled down to the fact that they pulled the two guards out of their beds, looked at their logs, then said that Mary was just imagining things. Here in Zambia, she had three strikes against them believing her story. First, she is only 16, second, she is female, and third .. she is American and is prejudiced.
Tom and I completely trust her word to us. She was not making up anything. And we were proud that she did not back down, but quietly related the story, answered their questions, even if the "team" wanted to just say nothing happened.
And here are the reassuring words, from the head of the security company concerning the guard who was on duty that night. In essence he said that he has known this guard, and he has worked for him for about 5 years, and "hasn't stolen anything, yet." That makes him a good guard.
Mary and I both did a double take. And as she said later to me, "Yet! Does that mean they are a good guard until they get caught stealing from us? That makes me feel real safe right now!"
The guards were admonished not to walk close to the house, and not speak loudly. Maybe they should add not to turn their durned cellphones and radios up so loud, either! We are in a secure area of the city. But, gosh, can you imagine if I had insisted they fire the two guards what sort of "help" we would get in the future?
Mary now knows not to try to go it alone, and to come immediately to our room if she feels at all uneasy. And this is exactly why we bought a wall safe. Our stuff isn't nearly as important to us as our persons, though. We'll be on the look out for a small dog for inside the house, so we have an alarm.
We are off for the big city, Lusaka, tomorrow morning in the hopes of finally getting the remainder of the furniture for this house. I'll take pictures, and post when we can. And hope the guards don't steal from us while we are gone!