Here’s Your Sign…

January 8, 2012

I’m 100% borrowing that line from Bill Engvall. And you are about to learn why.

In our house, we have a safe haven. It’s a metal gate you lock each night for added safety. At first the idea of locking myself in our house bothered me, but now it’s just another part of our day in Tanzania. Here’s a picture.

Locked in

We had been home for a few days from West Africa and we were very much out of our routine. It was a late night (about 2am) and Liam and I went upstairs to bed. As he locked the safe haven, he looked at me and said, “Where’s the key?” At which point, we realized we were locked in our own house. Awesome.  So, we went to sleep. Because what were we going to do about it at 2am?

Lock without a key

Oh yes. I forgot to mention. All we had with us was my computer. We left everything else downstairs, the embassy radio, our cell phones, and Liam’s computer.

We wake up the next morning around noon and are debating how we are going to break out of our house. We do have access to a balcony outside of our bedroom. And then there are the windows. There is also a spare set of keys in the car. But, of course the car is locked and the doors to the house are deadbolted from the inside and you cannot use a key to unlock them.


So here we sit. Locked in our house with no way out. So, what do we do? Well, Liam grabs his climbing gear and belays down the side of the house. This way he can try to get the keys out of the car.

See climbing ropes

See Liam trying to figure out how to break into our car

I spend some time trying to convince Liam to just ask the guards to call someone to help us. Give up on Liam listening and walk inside, grab my computer, and email our friend Jane. Also, try to use a free online service to text another friend. But, I seriously doubt it is going to go through. Here’s the email.


From: Francis   Sun, Jan 8, 2012 at 1:37 PM

To: Jane

HELP. Please.

So, Liam managed to lock us into our safe haven last night without the key for the lock. We also don’t have our cell phones. So basically everything is downstairs and we are locked in upstairs. Except Liam belayed down the house to try to open the car b/c there is a spare set of house keys in the car cause I forgot to grab them last night. But, the front door has the security latch. Can you help???



At this point. I’m starving. And beginning to get really pissed at Liam for not talking to the guards (Apparently, I’m a grouch when I’m hungry). It’s a mute point for me to try to explain it from the balcony because they do not speak English very well. And let’s face it, our Swahili is minimal on a good day.

Finally, Liam goes and talks to the guards and someone appears with a ladder and a set of bolt cutters. I tried to cut the lock on my own, but since my shoulder was busted, I barely put a dent in the lock. Tell Liam I do not have enough strength to cut it. He climbs up the rickety ladder and cuts the lock off of the safe haven and we are free!  We walk downstairs and open the door and Kevin (Jane’s hubby) and another friend walk up! So, happy to see them!  Even though we were free, Kevin was a knight in flip-flops and beach shorts (he was putting a kayak into the water at the Yacht Club when Jane told him what was going on!)  (It’s now about 3pm).

And we are free!!!

Well we finally found the extra key…

Came back inside, showered, ate lunch, and checked email. Received Jane’s response of “On the way.” I knew she had to be laughing. One can’t help it. It’s funny.  Called her and we laughed together. The things that happen at our house!  Seriously. 2012 has already worn me out and we are only 8 days in.

Another thing to add to the list to move with: Bolt cutters.

Like I said….Here’s your sign….

Categories: Africa | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Here’s Your Sign…

  1. You should be getting a new key chain with a Lion on it. Hope it helps.

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