My neighbour’s niece, Lillian, who lives in the countryside comes to town during holidays now that she is in college. This April as she was going back, she decided she did not need an escort to Machakos Bus Station since she’d been there twice before. She was walking leisurely, sucking on a lollipop and enjoying walking in Nairobi alone when, a 40-something lady (let’s call her G) asked her for directions to a Public Toilet. Lillian was more than willing to help. She felt it was an endorsement of her “knowing Nairobi” and looking city-like. Outside the Public toilet, another even older lady came (let’s call her One) and greeted G heartily. They said how they had not seen each other in many years, blah blah blah. G went in to use the loo and left her bag with Lillian and One. When G had finished, One went into the loo leaving her bag with Lillian and G. Lillian also figured the journey to Machakos was long and went into the loo leaving her handbag and half eaten lollipop to G and One. When she came out, her bag, lollipop, G and ONE were all GONE!
I was in tears as she told the story! Laughter and tears.
What Lillian and the rest of us need are QSU skills – Quick Size Up skills.
Immediately a stranger stops you, regardless of their age and gender, train yourself to do a QSU. Does it all add up; their accent, dressing, size of bag carried, the grim beneath their finger nails and their story. As you do this, keep a straight face listening and responding to what they are saying. If it really is an old classmate from High School, you don’t want to look like a snob.
What determines the accuracy of your QSU? 2 things (a) Experience – Learning from your own situations and mistakes and those of others will make your QSU more accurate. (b) Keeping an open heart – this will stop you from becoming paranoid. Paranoid is a very mzungu word which means mistrustful, fearful, unreasonable, suspicious, obsessed. There are situations where you will need to be compassionate but with minimal risk to yourself.
The most awesome QSU tool we have is – a relationship with a God who knows everything!
Joshua and the Israelites were conned by their neighbours so simply and subtly; Joshua 8. The Gebionites lied to the Israelites saying they came from a distant country and they even had mouldy bread and worn out clothes to prove it! The Israelites signed a deal not to ever kill them. Three days later, Joshua finds out that they are actually very close neighbours and their land was next on his “to conquer” list but by now, his hands were tied, he had to keep his oath.
Joshua 8:14 the men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not enquire of the Lord.
Joshua and his men examined the evidence and decided, “This is obvious!”
QSU 1 – you are a 30 year-old man, have a steady job, life is good. Obviously, its time to get a wife!
QSU 2 – a new job offer pays better, you get a bigger office, subsidised lunch and medical cover! Obviously this is it! Lord you have answered my prayer.
QSU 3 – everyone at work is joining this sacco; obviously I should also join and get cheap loans, its how people survive!
QSU 4 – a stranger leaves you with her handbag as she uses the toilet, should you also leave her with your handbag and lollipop as you enter to use the facility? Ha ha ha…
Any decision, it’s never that obvious.
Lord, help me to be patient to enquire of you, tune my heart to hear and my feet to obey.