My mother used to say. Thieves are manner-less. In her long life, she had witnessed several audacious acts of petty thievery. When the young men started to get restless, old ladies could not sleep properly. Rural village life, with its idyllic charm, was balanced out by its challenges. Poverty and its three ugly sisters, depression, disease and death.
During the ‘hungry days, in mid-season when food became scarce, the boys would scavenge through homesteads at night. They rarely broke into houses and avoided homesteads with well-fed mongrels. In the dead of the night, they would sneak into compounds that had been surveyed during the day, to rummage for stuff of value.
Water buckets, clothes on the line, jikos and the odd wheelbarrow. They preferred quick get-a-ways and kept identities hidden. The stolen items were exchanged for petty cash that was promptly converted into a harsh drink. It was cheaper to get high than to fill a belly with food.
Mother said, that they were not real thieves. They were just hungry. Real thieves, are manner-less. They are not afraid to show their faces. They can even cook in your kitchen. They insist on having a conversation and demand to know where everything of value is hidden. Real thieves are never in a hurry and they tend to be very meticulous.