The weekend update

On Friday, after some absence from the Mother of the Year contest, I earned my way to a submission.

Eli and Lucy used to share a room at our home in Portland. We, or I, made the change to separate rooms for them out of desparation….too many naptimes were becoming screamtimes, on their part and mine.

When we arrived here in Thika, the beds for the kids were in the same room. We figured this was ok, because in a strange environment, the kids might appreciate the security of having each other close. So we thought. They also appreciate the ability to talk, and play, and generally goof off when they should be sleeping.

On Friday, after much threatening, and yelling, and gosh knows what, Eli was moved into our bedroom to take a nap. I made a specific point to tell him NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING (last time he had way too much fun with the alarm clock that subsequently went off in the middle of the night when I was happily sleeping). After about 15 minutes, I went back in to check on him because things were strangely quiet. I opened the door to the bedroom and heard a pop sound followed by a WOW! and then the smell of sulphur. Eli had found the wooden matches in a box on the nightstand and had figured out how to strike one to light it.

I was furious, he was scared. Nuff said. I must say though, and perhaps this will discredit me from the award, I DID not leave the matches there. That was daddy’s doing.

As if that and seeing the person hit by the matatu weren’t enough, we got a lovely email message from our bank last night describing “unusual activity”. Thanks to so long and drawn out sleuthing on Ian’s mother’s part, we were notified that someone had used our debit card number (neither of our cards were missing) to make a payment of $2700 odd dollars to a dental clinic in Nairobi. And had attempted the transaction more than once. Monthly wage for a teacher here runs up to about 30,000. The charge on our card was 195,000 give or take a few shillings. Generally I’m irritated by the banks’ fraud department and them putting unnecessary holds on my account. Today I was glad. Now I’m just trying to figure who and how they got the number….cause I don’t use that card but in a few places and it hasn’t been out of my sight… my mother in law said, we’re learning the ropes of Africa.

And no, we won’t call the police cause last we heard, if your house was bugularized, and you wanted them to investigate, you have to go to the station, find one, pick them up and take them back to your house. Just guessing that card fraud isn’t top on their list. But, I might be making a visit to a dental clinic here soon. I think my tooth hurts.

Ok, so no, I’m not really going to the clinic. Sheesh.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eve on June 8, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I think that MOTY entry still counts. I’m pretty sure Er submitted one once that was really for Rhett. I’ll double check the manual.

    Glad the bank caught the fraud attempt. Can I please beg you to NOT go to the dentist and play investigator? I wouldn’t put it past you or Ian, but based on the little amount I know about Nairobi, I really, really, really don’t think that would be a smart move.


  2. Posted by Anna on June 8, 2009 at 4:15 am

    dang girl! intense stuff


  3. Posted by connie clemens on June 8, 2009 at 9:31 am

    We had our identities stolen about 10 years ago. Be very glad the banks are somewhat up to speed now. Back then they thought everything the crooks were doing was impossible! Watch out if a vendor processes a charge the old way on a duplicate copy paper with the slide imprint. That method gives them all they need. As I recall, many vendors in Africa did- very few had terminals to scan cards. Also, never let a waiter/vendor take your card… pay at the cashier. I would strongly urge you to purchase protection. For a reasonable monthly fee, we have immediate email alerts for any new activity on our credit. Someone tried using one of our accounts three years after our info was stolen and, naturally, I had let my guard down. Thank goodness we had someone else watching for us!


  4. Posted by connie clemens on June 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Oh, one more thing… I have two accounts at the same bank. I keep all our money in one that has no debit card issued. Before I go shopping or pay bills, I simply transfer an adequate amount online to the other account which has a debit card. This extra step has kept our money safe and our minds relaxed… well worth it in my book 🙂


  5. Posted by AMERIKA on June 9, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Oh my goodness. The matches thing is scary. You win the award. Eve and I will construct some sort of trophy by the time you return. Sheesh. Glad nothing worse happened. (BTW, welcome back to the contest – it’s in full swing as usual)

    Someone got hit by a matatu? That sounds scary. Did I miss that post?

    I love Connie’s idea about the two accounts. Man. Thank goodness the bank is ‘on it’.


    • Posted by mayfamily on June 9, 2009 at 7:24 am

      Yeah, we saw a really terrible accident. I, Ian wrote a draft post about it but then thought better and didn’t post it. We’ll spare you all the more traumatizing details of living here. Life has a very different price tag in Kenya, trauma, death, etc… are daily, public occurances that everyone but us seems very used to. We’re trying to aviod posting the gory details. Also doing our best to protect the kids from it. The Matau crash worked out OK, I was able to squeeze the car behind a van so they couldn’t see the mess.


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