Here's Teena, one of the four budgies I took from my neighbor after the raid in our building. I tried taking her (assuming it's a "she") out of her cage and letting her fly around the room. I want to give her a little freedom and I want to show her that I'm not a threat. Here she is resting on my hand for the first time.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
A fortnight ago in the middle of the night, terror struck our neighborhood as police came in droves to conduct a raid. We were about to prepare some late night snack a when we heard a loud knock at the main door, then kicking followed accompanied by a chorus of shouts as if a mob has descended upon every terrified soul in the building. While nervously and stealthily peeping through the eyepiece, we can see men in casual clothing, some in their traditional garbs but not one in police uniform.
Assuming no one was willing to open the door, shouts even grew louder and kicks turned harder they almost knocked it over. Then we decided it was for real. My flatmate asked defiantly albeit nervous "who are you?" They shouted back "it's the police" though we could not see anyone in uniform. My colleague even dared to ask why there was no one in uniform if they were indeed policemen. That didn't sit well with them sensing our reluctance to open the door. My colleague even told them to wait as he would call the building watchman to verify if these people were authorities as they claim to be and if they have permits to break into our apartments. Perhaps it further angered them that they kicked even harder so that we had no choice left but to open it.
As soon as the door opened, five or six of them sprinted down through all house crevices as if frantically looking for contrabands but eventually demanding us to provide our iqamas or residence permits. It was when two or three men in uniform surfaced that assured us the raid was sanctioned by the police. But if the raid came earlier in the week we would not have survived because we only have papers in our possession in lieu of our iqamas that were sent for renewal. And that terrifying episode happened barely four days into the receipt of our new iqamas.
It's funny because some of them cut a frustrated look upon knowing we were legitimate expatriates. I guess they assumed already we would be worthy additional to a busload of illegals they have snagged already. We came to know the raids were done simultaneously in select buildings marked from tipoffs. In the height of the commotion, some of them even noticed our cats that were frantically running to hide and they even asked us where did we get those. My colleague replied, "if you're wondering we have so many cats (9 in total) you should look around at the millions upon millions of cats starving in the streets".
It was then that they left and told us to close the door and as we still talked we can mostly women and some men being dragged down the stairs and being herded to the bus outside, women and even elderly men who were in crutches, all I assumed were illegals.
Oddly enough, when that episode we thought was over some ununiformed "policemen" decided to come back and entered the adjacent flats on the ground floor in stealth while bent over. The next morning we came to know from our building watchman that some smartphones, camera, and wi-fi unit also disappeared; tenants from another building also complained about missing laptops and smartphones during the night raid. To us, it's not surprising if illegals were inflicted double whammy: getting jailed and their belongings ransacked/seized for the culprits to divide the loot, that is.
After the dust has settled, we decided to check on the lovebirds that belong to the tenants of another apartment if they were still there. The fate of their owners was largely unknown to us so we decided to take them in. Until now the four budgies remain with us and in total we have now 13 mouths to feed which is a bit challenging but at the same time exciting.
The entire experience was indeed terrifying but thank God for the protection when we thought we were safe in the confines of our home. We're still reeling from the trauma, but it served as a lesson that we will never forget. All the glory belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ for His wondrous deeds in our lives!