Running with the Mob

7/22/2013 07:26:00 PM sendtheroths 0 Comments

It happened faster than 1-2-3.

We went to Virunga Market searching for soccer jerseys. It is the busiest market in town and it is full of thieves.

Virunga Market is Goma's largest market.
Photo Credit: Ripple's Web
When we unlocked the doors to get in the car, a group of street boys opened the door to our Toyota 4Runner, grabbed a DSLR camera and started running. Andrew and Nick took off running after the boys.

“Mweizi!” Andrew yelled. This means thief in Swahili.

Immediately, the people around began to run after the boys too. Andrew and Nick turned the corner and off they went with the crowd, completely out of sight.

I sat with another team member in the car waiting until Nick finally came around the street corner cheering with a camera in his hand. The street vendors cheered with him, happy that he recovered the camera.

When the crowd began to pursue, the boy with the camera became afraid and dropped it next to a wall. Andrew picked it up and gave it to Nick who brought it back to the car.

But where was Andrew?

Andrew was no longer chasing after the camera. He was chasing the boy.

I waited for 1 minute; 2 minutes; 3 minutes. When I saw that Andrew was not returning. I got out of the vehicle and began to ask people where my husband ‘the Chinese man’ went. The people pointed down the street towards back alleys.

“They are fighting!” They said.

Another boy came from a back alley running.

“They’ve got him tied up and they’re choking him and beating him!”

Suddenly, another group of people began to yell from down the street.

“They have machetes and they are going to cut him up!” I tried not to panic, since visitors were watching from the car.

I asked for the police and one small boy tried bringing me to the nearest police officer, who was far away and out of site. I ran for about five steps, before I realized… the police are not going to help. This is Congo! The police will only make things worse.

I stopped in my tracks and began to look at the people around me.

“Please, help me find my husband. They are fighting him.”

A group of men ran and grabbed their machetes to go with me down the alleys. As I was talking to a motorcycle taxi driver about taking me into the alley, I saw Andrew come out from around the corner.

He was unscathed and completely well.

Andrew caught the teenage boy by the shirt. When the boy began to fight back, Andrew strangled the boy with his shirt until the boy relented. Andrew proceeded to drag the boy back to the mob that was chasing him. Apparently, he thought the boy needed to learn a lesson.

I was about to take a motorbike taxi to find Andrew.
Photo Credit: Christopher Vourlias
“We're getting out of here,” Andrew said.

We waved thankfully at the people who helped us get the camera back and at the men who were willing to fight to get Andrew back as we quickly pulled out of the crowded market.

Some people were cheering happily. “This is our Congo!” They were happy that the people on the street could gather together and catch a thief and help the foreigners recover their items. They were proud that there was at least some justice . . . even if it was served on the street.

A few thoughts to prayerfully consider: 
It is sobering to realize that when you need help, the police won’t help. This is the case for people living in Congo, including us. This country needs justice and we need to believe for that.

It was God’s amazing grace that the people sided with us and helped us to recover the camera, and were even willing to fight for Andrew.

Lastly, in a split second, things can go very well or drastically bad. But in this, do we trust in the Lord or give in to fear and let false information dictate our lives?