The New Times (Kigali)

4 January 2014

Rwanda: Jobseeker's Diary - Christmas Without My Iphone

Sorry, Techno but I mean no offence. After years of watching acquaintances enjoy the iPhone experience, I decided that this is the year I should join the i family.

It doesn't come cheap as you all know and so, months ago, I started putting aside some money as I couldn't afford to pay for it at once.

Knowing my unimpressive saving culture, I asked our accountant to retain a portion of my salary each month so I wouldn't be tempted to spend it on a sick relative, unending wedding contributions or even on myself.

He was kind enough to do that for me and after four months (yes it took that long) I finally had enough money to buy my prized possession. I would have bought the phone here as it is available in select shops but a colleague, Andrew, offered to help. His brother lives in the States and since he always comes home for Christmas, Andrew said he'd get it for me at half the price as they're a lot cheaper over there.

I was thrilled and so gave him the money to pass on to his brother. That was early November. I didn't want to send it too late in case his brother had planned to travel early. I was broke but I knew I'd be happy in a matter of weeks. November ended and with each passing day, my anticipation grew.

As anyone in similar circumstances would do, I asked Andrew to remind his brother not to forget the phone. He assured me that he had talked to him just the previous night and that I would have my iPhone very soon. By December 8, the phone hadn't arrived yet but I didn't want to come off as one of those people who make you wish you hadn't offered them your help.

Here I was being saved shipment costs on top of getting the phone itself at a reasonable price so the least I could do was wait, right? I did that for a couple more days but by the 14th, I'd lost my patience. What if the supposed traveler didn't turn up? People cancel their travel plans all the time, don't they? Except that Andrew hadn't relayed any such communication from his brother. About the same time, I noticed that he was avoiding me, which was a futile if not stupid attempt since we work for the same company and so are bound to bump into each other.

Until this incident, I hadn't known him to be that kind of person, which is why I'm still waiting. I know it's Winter but I haven't read or heard about massive snowstorms in the US and Andrew's brother could still come. Friends I talked to suggested I wait until mid January and that if I still don't have it by then, I should just ask for my money back.

Others who've gone through the same, though not at the hands of Andrew, suggested that I should confiscate his laptop. I'm not that kind of person and I detest that kind of drama, especially at work but at the same time, I can't just let him get away with this, if indeed he has fleeced me. I sacrificed a lot and waited too long for that phone to just let this go. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm giving Andrew 14 days and if that phone is not here then, I will not just take his laptop but will make sure HR and Finance know about it. Who else can help me recover my money than the custodians of salaries?

To be continued...

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