I Was Robbed in South Africa
Sunday started out as my absolute favorite day so far on the race. Our squad coaches, Bob and Sharon, had provided a fun day out for our entire squad during debrief at this amazing waterpark in South Africa. It was right on the ocean - one of the most beautiful beaches I'd ever seen. It was a resort- type area, nice shops and amazing restaurants. A man named Derry bought ice cream for my friend Julie and I - he was a widow and wanting someone to talk to.
We slid down slides over and over and laughed and had such a great time. One of the slides you used a huge raft to go down and you could fit 6 people on it. We all piled on and laughed the whole way down. My squad mates made me face my fear of heights and encouraged me to go down the highest water slide in the southern hemisphere. It was a little scary but a lot of fun. Four of us ate at this amazing restaurant that was two levels and at the end of a pier. Later my friend Julie and I had a one on one (or two on two really) with Bob and Sharon at a coffee shop and it was so nice and relaxing. I bought South African flag stickers and patches and I took a ton of great pictures of the whole day.
Later, when we got back to the camp where we were staying in Durban, Julie and I went down to the beach by ourselves. It was close to sunset but still light out and we had been told to only go out of the compound in groups of 4, but things had been safe and we had started to let our guard down. We also thought that another group was coming right behind us. I grabbed my backpack with a change of clothes, my camera, my wallet, my bible and my cell phone inside. When we opened the gate to the camp, we saw two men passing us coming from the beach. I didn't think much of it but Julie and I both mentioned feeling a little sketched out. When we were walking, I had Julie's iPod in my hand. At one point I dropped it and felt terrible for getting sand on it. The beach was completely empty except for us.
We were reading Julie's Jesus Calling book when we saw the guys coming back towards us closer to the shoreline (we were back toward the dune area). They were nonchalantly kicking a plastic bottle and we both commented that they weren't a threat. But just about that time, they reached the place where we were and turned and started walking straight towards us. I knew there wasn't an exit to the beach behind us. It all happened so fast - but Julie said "Let's go" and when we stood up and grabbed our stuff, they ran straight towards us. We started running and the more aggressive one ran toward Julie and the other toward me. I looked up and saw that Julie had fallen in the sand and the man was standing over her, threatening her. I had dropped my bible and my cell phone at some point when running and one of the men had both in his hand. It's kind of a blur at this point, but at some point he picked up Julie's iPod. He had something in his hand or maybe he was just pointing his fingers but I started yelling at him to not hurt her. He picked up Julie's Jesus Calling book and asked "What is this?" and then said "F--ing Bible" and threw it at me. I didn't know what else to do so I threw my bag away from us toward the other guy and told them to just take everything and not hurt us. They grabbed our stuff and ran away. We ran back to camp and grabbed Megan, our squad mentor and Mark, one of our squad leaders, and Mark called the police but they never came. We were completely fine - neither man touched us. I clearly remember seeing my pink Bible in one of the men's hands and can only hope that he is convicted by the situation and decides to change his life around. Although it would be easy to be angry at the men, I keep reminding myself that those men are God's children too and created by God and hopefully they will find Him. I'll share more of my thoughts and feelings in a second blog post.