It's hot in Magugu and we slept last night with the windows open. That was probably a mistake... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Let me back up.
We left home at 5:45am and drove the two and half hours south west out of Arusha in order to accompany some friends to check up on the excellent school they are running in the sleepy, desert town. We passed herds of wildebeest and a few wandering giraffe on the way.
After a long and fulfilling day with students, our team treated the teaching staff to dinner out in order to thank and honor them for their hard work and dedication in a less than hospitable location. Then the ten of us headed in our two vehicles back to the guest house. The guest house is a small courtyard with simple rooms facing into the open area. There is no running water, but they heat water on the fire and provide buckets for sponge baths in your rooms. It's pleasant enough. No problems.
We squeezed our two vehicles into the courtyard area and the tall tin gates were closed behind us. Byron and I said goodnight to the others and we retired.
At 2:30am I woke up. Our bed faced the window and I gazed through the mosquito net toward the curtains, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. There was a light shining in where the curtain had been pushed aside. It was a fairly feeble beam, the kind you would get from a cheap flashlight with a fading battery. I turned my head to see what it was shining on and saw that it was attempting to light up Byron's shirt that was hanging from wooden pegs on the wall.
That's when I noticed the long pole coming in through the window and my brain cleared enough for me to realize that someone was trying to fish whatever they could out of our room.
Byron had checked out our windows before we went to sleep and decided that since they opend into the courtyard of the owner's home behind us, we were likely safe to leave them open. But someone (probably the whole town) had noticed the two carloads of foreigners in town and noted where they were staying. That someone had then climbed into the courtyard behind our room and was now busily trying to grab something worth taking.
My un-thought-out reaction was to sit up and call out "Kainyo?" Kainyo is a Maasai word that means "Why?" or "For what reason?" but it can be used as "What are you doing that for?" (Not that Magugu is a Maasai speaking area!) At the same time I was hitting Byron who was sound asleep next to me.
He heard my "Kainyo?" and woke up. He saw the shadow against the window and paused before lunging toward it to stop the thief. You should know that we were seperated by saftey bars so there was no chance that we were actually going to engage this person. But the lunge scared him off, as it was supposed to.
With the opportunist gone, I realized how hard and fast my heart was beating. We closed the windows and checked out the room. Nothing was gone. Byron's jeans were on the floor below the pegs, making me think that the dude hooked them first but then they fell. I believe it was the sound of them falling onto the ground that woke me.
Even if the dude had succeeded in getting Byron's jeans, he would not have found a wallet, car keys or a phone in them as Byron had put those away in other places. But it would have left Byron in a awkward spot as he didn't have anything else with him to wear on his lower half.
I've heard of this scenario where people are robbed by fishing thieves in the night but I've never experienced it before. We went back to sleep (not RIGHT away, I must admit) thankful for protection.
Byron called me a Jack Russell this morning because I had woken up with the slightest sound and barked out at a thief. Some thanks for the girl who saved his shirt!