Monday, October 2, 2017

Everyone inside the car was FINE, Stanley.

Mark was worried that this photo looks like
something inappropriate is happening, but
I promise that Djibrine wasn't trying to grab
my boob. I was just trying to get the hook into
the thing to lower the spare tire, which
was more difficult since I'd previously
bashed the back of the truck in with a tree.
After Uganda, we slowly made our way over to Chad. Our flight left Entebbe at 3am on Sunday morning, so naturally, I couldn’t sleep at all on Saturday night. I had very elaborate, time-sensitive schedules for our time in Chad, involving me driving 4.5 hours Sunday afternoon, so it would have been a good idea to do a bit of sleeping, but sleeping is not one of my greater skills. Also, I had a problem on my mind: Hervé was supposed to be arriving back in Chad on the same flight as we were, meeting up with us in Addis on the way back from his trip to Kenya where he had been doing a training about sand dams with UNICEF. I’d told Leif (who was buying his ticket) that we needed him to fly back on 17 September to arrive in time for our trip south to Koudalwa and beyond. If you are a regular reader of this online cathartic journal of mine (Hi MOM!), you will recall that this is the location of the 16 hours in the mud and 9 hours of night-time motorcycling. I wanted Hervé with me to drive one car full of Americans and their luggage, while I drove the other car full of Americans and their luggage. On 16 September, having just arrived back in Entebbe where we would spend a few hours before our trip to Chad, I received a frantic message from Hervé, telling me that he had just noticed that his return trip was for December 17 and not, in fact, September 17, as we had requested. Leif was informed (“Oops,” he said), but there was nothing we could do to change the ticket, so I had resigned myself to making the trip alone, with Djibrine as the other driver.

Market photo that did not get me arrested.
17 September ended up being a day of crumbling chaos, that started off well with a 2am peanut butter milkshake in Entebbe (see previous post). Our flight in Addis was delayed for various reasons given to irate passengers that no one really believed (I've never seen customers get as passionately upset with flight delays as I do whenever I'm in the Addis Airport, but then again, I do spend a disproportional amount of time there compared with other airports).

We arrived 2 hours late to our office where the immigration guy, who came in on a Sunday to help us out, had been waiting for us. You know how people give Africans a hard time about punctuality? I’m just going to admit that in my experience, it all evens out to where I’m late as often as they are, but occasionally at inconvenient times for the other person, we may show up on time.  The immigration guy showed up on time, and likely he regretted it, like that one time I showed up punctually for church (never happened again). 

We left N’djamena around 5pm with a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us, mostly in the dark. I didn’t realize that Djibrine is an anti-speeder who kept to 60kmph (less than 40mph), a ridiculously slow speed that forced me to pass him and then call him multiple times, asking him to speed up because I realized that I shouldn’t leave him in the car with my boss, who he can’t communicate with, while I’m way up ahead, in case anything happens. Something did happen: I exploded a pigeon. It was not on purpose. And I honked at the dumb thing, which was sitting in the road like an idiot. It then proceeded to fly up into the windshield with a juicy thump.

Around 11pm we made it to the hotel. They’d given away our reservations and taken down mosquito nets that had been there when I’d visited previously. The boss’s face was super not happy with me. I made a big deal about reservations and honoring commitments and they found a few rooms for us, but two had to double up. Not Kiden, the Lone Woman, of course. I got to my room, caught the frog that was jumping around in the bathroom, threw it out the door, brushed the dead bug carcasses off the bed, and slept for almost 4 hours.

I picked up my frog prince and threw him out the door.
What was I thinking?!

The only outlet in the room was up high.
I needed to charge my battery.
So I plugged it in and tied it up there with my bikini top.
As they say, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

We left bright and early the next day. Backing out of the hotel driveway, I was hit by a giant evil-minded tree right in the middle of Nathan’s speech to me about trusting my driving. Then the first leg of this trip I’d timed (twice!) at 40 minutes until we got off the paved road to the dirt road took us 2 hours. Mostly, I blame Djibrine’s slow driving, but also, a dog committed suicide on my car bumper and I got a flat tire. Already mourning the death of yet another creature on my watch, I was starting to get concerned about my driving, assuming the flat was from my decision not to let the presence of the jagged pot holes keep me from maintaining maximum speed. In fact, it wasn’t. The guys fixing the tire called me over to show me the sharp piece of cow bone (I verified that it wasn’t dog bone) that had punctured the inner tube, causing a flat. I never would have noticed that little piece of bone in the road, but I do still have it and I plan to make it into a talisman to hang on my rearview mirror to warn off other animals.




Marching up to the police with my permits.
Do not mess with me when I have paperwork.



While we were fixing the tire, Djibrine told me that I could let the guys film in the market—after all I had all the permits. Nathan was quickly grabbed up by bored police who did not appreciate my self-righteous defense of his cameras. Djibrine had to go off and sort that out. We finally arrived in Koudalwa around 2pm with 40k to go to get to the village. We piled into one car for the trip in, which our faithful guide Ramadan assured us to be dry enough to get through. It was dry enough, but it also went through a forest. And eventually there were too many trees for us to pass through. A motorcycle would have made it and Ramadan has a motorcycle. But we called it around 4pm. Mark said, “This is the first time in the history of Neverthirst that we have not made it to a village.” So-Infamy achieved. Thanks a lot, Chad.






I sat on the floor in the back of the car as penance for all
my bad ideas on this trip.


I also made peanut-butter stuffed brownies
to try to encourage everyone.
They were well received.
Even "I'll Just Have a Power Bar" Mark liked them.


We embarked on the long, slow, dark trip back to Bongor and the hotel, which was promised to have mosquito nets, dinner, and enough rooms for all this time. At 12am, Djibrine’s car refused to go any further, having already been subjected to the abuse of the forest trip. Mark, John, and I pushed it off the road to a nearby village and we all got in the other car to drive the last 15k. We arrived at 1am, ate a hasty dinner of meat and bread, and slept for a few more hours under brand new mosquito nets. They kindly gave me the pink one, to remind me of my gender probably.

This might have been when we called it.
Hard to know the exact moment.
Djibrine sitting in the dirt, does help you get
a sense of the level of Discouragement.
The next day, we left Djibrine behind to deal with the car, and Amanda became the sole driver back to N’Djamena. Yes, there was much gasping and clutching at door handles as she drove, but she also made it there in 4.5 hours, thank you very much, without any other deaths or injuries. Americans can be so dramatic, especially the men.

Fortunately, the rest of the trip went well, gaining some good footage for videos and encouraging the Neverthirst team to keep Chad on our list of places where we work (and Amanda as an employee). I spent lots of time driving and translating and enlisting the help of generous friends to arrange for the last day to be spent at the Hilton (thanks, Rhyan-I hereby donate my new name “Itoru” to you, Savior of the Americans and my possibly my job!) to help delicate Americans recover before their long trip home. In the end, it was a good visit, full of adequate unavoidable adventures, and no one asked to be put on the list of “People Who Will Never Travel with Amanda Again,” and two of the 4 guys said that Chad is one of their favorite places they’ve traveled and one of those guys has actually travelled to many places so his opinion was quite valid even. I get a lot of haters out here in Chad, so I’m always happy to have people who will laugh with me through the disasters and find the beauty in a harsh environment.



Mark took this photo of me taking a goat selfie.


Filming mommies is fun because I can hold their babies while I'm translating.

You can't tell, but I was super happy to be riding and not driving.
I was pretty bruised up after this though, thanks to Hervé's driving.




Hervé and Djibrine chilling while we do the interviews.
If one of them would just learn English already, I wouldn't have to be the only translator!

Absa liked pulling my hair. I loved Absa for being the best little 360 video actress ever.
And gorgeous.
Here is one of her actually smiling.
Too late to delete the other one now.


Absa's father and brother busting out the bow and arrows.

We were allowed into the cattle market with strict instructions not to photograph anyone.
Naturally, I took quite a few photos. You can't tell ME what to do.

Cattle Market day made Dourbali super cool.
The guys thought it was like the Old West, with everyone riding in on their horses.
Probably this day redeemed the whole trip for everyone and saved my job.
Good thing this was the last day of filming.




See the very different quality of this photo (and the following one)?
I didn't take them. But maybe you already noticed since I'm actually in the photo.


Supervising the filming.
(This filter really shows off the dirt on my skirt. Thanks a lot, Kyle.)
Rhyan is the best. The Hilton is a little Oasis in the middle of N'djamena.
It's not real life, of course, but it was a nice recovery time for the guys.



Leaving the Hilton, someone thought it was hilarious that they
were all walking around me like they were my body guards.
Let me just take a moment to point out that I was always
going to be the one taking care of them in the event of anything happening.
But they wanted to pose for this photo, which I found slightly humiliating,
and I kept telling them that I actually have to live here!
But I guess I owed them this moment for all of the pain...
Enjoy, guys. Enjoy.


And finally, I know the title is from the Office, but I'll leave you with a classic reference from The Wind in the Willows, as Mr Toad has long been my alter-ego, especially when it comes to driving and adventures (and this drawing is amazingly close to depicting what happened  to the pigeon incident):



"Sit still, and you shall know what driving really is, for you are in the hands of the famous, the skilful, the entirely fearless Toad!"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What's in a Name? (Hint: people's opinions about your life choices)


Loved being back with this guy for a few days
I just completed a 10-day trip with the Americans—the boss, a colleague, and two video guys. It has left me considering early retirement on a deserted island in a secret location, but I haven’t even been able to convince myself to take a day off, even though I worked straight through two weeks and technically earned a weekend.

The trip was the first for the Neverthirst team back to Africa since before my dramatic evacuation from South Sudan. Consequently, I really wanted it to go well, and I had grandiose plans for its success. Yes, I had plans. In advance (!). I was uncharacteristically prepared for this trip. Mostly the Chad part, but also the Uganda part.



Ice cream selfie





On my end, the trip started out in the usual way, excessive immigration flirting to score some extra re-entry forms for the team on the return trip earned me a marriage proposal that I pretended not to understand.






Got to see this cool girl since I got to Uganda
before everyone else. We always have fun.
Once I arrived in Addis, made my way to the Silver Lounge, snuck over to the Gold Lounge through an open connecting door to steal diet cokes, and parked myself in a wifi accessible location, the fun started. I had messages from the Americans that their first flight was canceled due to hurricanes and they were driving and hoping their second flight wouldn’t be canceled. I informed them that it was too late for me to back out now, but a small part of me thought it might be nice hang out in the comfortable Entebbe hotel, complete with wifi and hot baths for a few days waiting for them to be re-routed. Then I had a message from Emelie telling me that there was a new immigration officer in Chad who was not giving her the visa she thought she’d have for Emmanuel who was supposed to be arriving from Kenya later that night and could we postpone his flight? Answer: no. He was already flying on that flight… I then spent the rest of the airport time trying to deal with that unsuccessfully and also eating ice cream at 11:30pm because they now have ice cream in the Addis airport! And years of digging out forgotten ice creams from the bottom of my grandparents’ freezer has made me appreciate the delicate cardboard aftertaste of slightly freezer-burnt confections, so I was able to enjoy my midnight snack.



I made him a nice two-layer cake
to celebrate his birthday late, here in NDJ.
It was a really good cake too, though not pretty.
It doesn't make up for all the pain and agony,
but Emmanuel is great and very forgiving.
(In case you are interested in the outcome, Emmanuel arrived in Chad, they sent him back to Douala the next day, but he is Kenyan and didn’t have a visa for Cameroon either and he had to stay in the airport while we waited to see if Emelie got the last signature she needed so he could make the 23:15 flight. She did at the last minute and he made it, but not before I realized that it was his 40th birthday that day he spent sitting with Douala Airport Security—Amanda=World’s Worst Boss.)


Everyone ended up making it to Uganda for our trip. We were able to ease the Americans into Africa life—Uganda is much more developed than Chad, though we did have to take those vans with the side-bench seats that can be a bit uncomfortable for trips over unpaved roads. The following conversation happened many times:
Mark/John/Kyle/Nathan/Whoever: How far is this next drive?

Local partner: 30-45 minutes.

Reality: 30 minutes to 2 hours drive. But the important thing is that we made it to every village on the list. This would not be the case once we arrived in Chad…

Uganda was particularly memorable for me in that I received two new tribal names and a chicken. After translating interviews for a South Sudanese woman talking about how her biosand filter benefits her family, she pulled me aside and told me that she would like to give me a Kuku name (Kuku being her tribe, no need for “punny” jokes).

“I will called you ‘Kiden,’ “ she said. “It means ‘the one woman with all the men.’” So, basically accurate, though not exactly beneficial to me, as they are all married, but I do like having my own room in hotels when we travel.

Filming the biosand filter bit with Esther,
just before she renamed me "Kiden."

When you carry a baby girl through a warzone,
you have an unbreakable bond.
Love this girlie.
The second new name was one I received after a long grateful ceremony to Neverthirst in thanks for the wells we funded in the area. It’s a good thing that I’m not one of those people who is afraid of public speaking because I made many spur of the moment speeches at various and sundry ceremonies across Uganda and Chad while I was with the Americans. In Chad, I speeched in French and/or Arabic and then translated them back for the monolinguals, but in Uganda I had to work with translators (unless I was with South Sudanese refugees) because I don’t speak those tribal languages. I prefer to do my own translating, but I’ve not gotten the chance to learn Logbara (yet). I did pick up a few useful words to throw in when I am searching for loud applause and laughter (I like to work the crowd). At the end of the last (and longest) ceremony, Mark, John and I were called up to be given our Logbara names. Being Kiden, I was given mine first (chivalry). I had to quickly put down the origami animals I was making for all the kids sitting around me and pretend I’d been paying attention the whole time as I smiled and walked up to the front of the room (where we’d moved when a huge downpour did not, as I’d hoped, finish off the ceremony early).

“Your Logbara name is called ‘Itoru’! This name is the female of the name that means ‘Savior’ in English because you have brought water to our people!”

Ribbon cutting ceremony before the name-giving ceremony
I felt my smile sticking to my face and I begin hoping for a God-sent lightning bolt to zap me off the face of the earth for blasphemy. They literally made me into a White Savior, which is an actual type of person you find out here in the development world, and one I’ve spent my adult life trying to avoid becoming. It’s been a process and it’s involved listening to the superior wisdom of people in whose countries I’ve had the privilege to work and constantly reminding myself that I don’t automatically know better because of my educational background and then apologizing for the times when I thought I knew better and screwed something up. It’s the reason why I like working with Neverthirst and IAS because I rarely even see other white people when I’m working and I know how much more important all my people here are to the success of our work than I am. I’ve met plenty of people with White Savior Complex in my time in Africa and Asia, some I’ve tried to gently steer into reality, others I’ve tried to gently avoid at all costs in conversation and general proximity. And now I am one. Dammit. Well, let me know if you need anything, I guess. Apparently I’m in the business of saving the world. I don’t work week-ends, though. It’s important to have boundaries.



 Here are a few more Uganda Photos:


I'm super proud of this photo. See the billboard advertising "Sky View," Uganda's answer to Mountain Dew, as the
bus with the Mountain Dew advert on the back goes by...I should win the Nobel Photography Prize for this genius shot.

Joy made all my favorites for lunch chez Repent.
Everyone acted like the peanut butter greens were so weird,
and then all the Americans loved them, even
"I'll Just Eat a Power Bar" Mark.




Can you feel the hatred that this child has for me?
I think she heard about the whole "White Savior" thing.
I feel you, kid. I deserve that look.

Repent testing out the virtual reality headset,
which we are using to show Americans a bit about life in Neverthirst countries.
Here is Repent looking at snow. Works both ways.

Day 1: Mark and John twinning.



Day 2: did it again. Two days in a row in the same shirt.
This is the problem when all your clothes are Neverthirst swag.

The Americans have a dedication to getting the perfect shot,
no matter what the cost. Not pictured: Amanda untangling Nathan's foot
from the grass or Amanda walking behind Nathan as he walked backwards,
steering him onto the road. I saved his life so many times.

The lovely long-suffering Safia, allowing Kyle to
strap her to the 3D camera.

There must have been a moment when Safia regretted letting
it slip to me that she speaks Arabic because I made her be the video subject.
It's easier if I translate because I know what the video guys are trying to do.
Safia is a Ugandan who has spent much time with South Sudanese, and so she
speaks Arabic as well as several other tribal languages. She is a genius.
And now she's also a movie star. Coming to a theatre near you in 2018.

Chicken selfie. Yes, the people gave us a live chicken
that then had to ride with us in the car for two days until
Repent took it home for dinner...
(sadly for the chicken, he probably won't get the peanut butter greens)
Here you see him looking calm and quiet under my seat.
That is deceptive. He kept poking at my ankles, making me scream.
Hey-when it's dark and something under your chair touches your feet,
you scream. That is just logical.



Me and Abui in front of the hot air blowing out of the compressor.
I was freezing most of the time. Here I'm wearing John's jacket over Golda's cardigan
and my own sweater--still in imminent danger of hypothermia.
Photo with Loguya and Repent and someone's thumb.
Still wearing John's jacket. Said Kyle or Nathan or someone:
"Of course you need the jacket with a windchill of 90 degrees."
I agree with that.


Peanut butter milkshakes in the Entebbe Airport are the best.
Next post Chadisasters and Chadventures.

-->

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Heist

There is water coming out of that thing finally!
No matter what, I was going to have a good day.
“You’re not going to blog about this, are you?” I’ve been asked this question several times over the past few days, so naturally I’m going to blog about this. I think they were worried because I generally blog about things that are funny, and people don’t think that what happened could be funny, but they’re wrong. I’ve laughed about it much more than I’ve cried about it, since I haven’t actually cried about it.  I have woken up at 3am in a cold fury about it, though, full disclosure. Then again, it is not abnormal for me to be awake at 3am thinking about things that keep me from going back to sleep.

So what happened was this (and I’ll start at the middle and go outwards because that is how life works): I’d just been to the store to buy enough junk food and sodas for a six year old’s birthday party, assuming that six year old is allowed to drink sugar-free caffeinated beverages (I am). On my way back to the office (where I’d left my computer and other stuff while I was at the store), I had heard some text messages come in from my dad. I’d been texting before about a project break-through I’d been waiting for. It had been a great day so far, and I was in a very good mood in spite of the fact that I’d just been driving in N’Djamena and nothing makes me more sweary and crabby than dodging motorcyclists with death wishes.  Before running back into the office, I decided to reply to my dad’s message. As I was in the middle of writing about another excellent aspect of my now seemingly-possible projet, a man jumped in the passenger’s side of my car.  As we have lots of beggars in our area, I was expecting a heart-felt plea for money or food or phone credit, but then I saw his face, and realized it wasn’t that. Some instinct grabbed away my phone from his clutching grasp and then my wallet. He grabbed at the wallet too and we engaged in a battle of tug-of-war with me yelling for the guard at the top of my lungs.  Also, there was some incoherent yelling happening as well, as it is hard to decide which language to scream invective in when one is being attacked. As I was already clutching the phone with one hand, and he had a firmer angle on the ground with his feet, he managed to get the wallet free and ran for the street. Naturally, I ran after him. By this time, the guard managed to come out and join the chase, until the thief jumped on a waiting motorcycle and pulled out a gun. I kept running, the guard yelled, “He has a gun, stop!” So they got away, no thanks to the soldiers casually walking down the other side of the street who could have shot them.

A rough drawing of what the robbery looked like,
as there is no photographic evidence.

I guess it’s good that they weren’t shot, though. I mean, it would have been sad if they were shot for less than 60,000CFA (less than 100USD), a cool wallet I got in Colombia because it was cheap (and Debbie was taking a million years trying on those shorts and buying things was my only entertainment), my IAS ID badge, and my Chadian driver’s license, which had the dangerously wrong blood type on it anyway (I’m O- not O+). He tried to get my groceries, but got scared of me and dropped them. If he had gotten them, I would be totally cool with shooting him. He probably also would have been up for immediate death, facing the crushing disappointment of finding he’d risked life and limb to steal a bag full of candy and chips (I’ve been told that not everyone finds that an acceptable form of sustenance).

An example of the contents of my grocery cart, as a general rule.


So the thief got away, which bothered me because I don’t like losing, but I consoled myself by the fact that I still have my phone, which is way more important to me that a driver’s license. Now I have a great excuse not to have to drive. But if I want to drive, I have the police commissioner’s phone number if I get pulled over.  I kind of  hope I do. “Oh yeah, Mr. Bored Police Guy Who Wants to Make a Quick Buck from the NGO Car? You want to try to get money from me? Here, talk to your boss instead.”

This is me chasing after the thief. A very accurate portrait I happened to find online.
(It's so hard to stay off the grid in this digital age.)


How did I meet the police boss? Well, as the thief was bopping away down the road and I was regretting not throwing a rock at him while I had the opportunity to check if his crappy old gun was actually working, I was immediately surrounded by a crowd of concerned people who had been conveniently absent moments before. I really don’t know where they all came from. I found my head awkwardly smashed into the firm embrace against the ample bosom of my very concerned office housekeeper who had also grabbed up my groceries and put them back in the bag without judging my nutritional choices (to my face anyway). She is great.  There were also about 8-10 men, most of whom I’ve never seen in my life. People seemed to be waiting for me to cry (which is consistent with responses of most other people after that), but I was feeling pretty good. I’d won the main contest (phone) and almost won the second contest and it was striking me at the moment what a hilarious debacle this had been for the erstwhile thief. I mean, I was in the car with the keys in the ignition. He had a gun. He could have pulled it out on me earlier and demanded the car. No one, including myself, knows if I would have just acquiesced. It turns out, I’m not super-good at surrendering.

One of the things in my grocery sack that the thief didn't get.
Yes, I did spend 1100CFA on a bag of melted crocodile gummies.

Still edible.

Oh right, I was going to tell how I met the police. One of the men I’d never seen before turned out to be the brother of our neighbor, a half Sudanese, half-Chadian who understands my Arabic. He also spent some time in India and we spoke some Hindi together too, though he was in Tamil Nadu. He insisted, in Indian-accented English, that we go to the police station (side-bobbing his head too, I’ve really missed that), as he himself is a police and he can make sure that we can report this just in case the thieves murder someone and casually place my driver’s license on the dead body. If I’ve reported them stolen, I will not be dragged off to jail as a suspect. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee. I have a murderous look in my eye, it seems. 

So we jumped in the car and went to the police station where most people were already gone (It was Friday, which is always a half-day in Chad, a really good innovation unless you are concerned with getting a lot of things done in a week—I rarely am, so I’m a fan). The police ushered me into the office muttering something that I wasn’t paying attention to. I walked in and sat down before he started yelling, “Les chaussures! Les chaussures!” I’d neglected to take off my shoes at the door and I’d walked across his ugly fake carpet in sandy shoes. He managed to forgive me and dutifully noted my loss on a scrap piece of paper where, no doubt, he’d previously dutifully noted someone else’s. But at least I’m safe from being accused of murder…for now…


 And an encouraging note for my mom: Hervé's reaction to this event was to immediately sit down at his computer and write an Email entitled: "Urgent. Agression des bandis sur Amanda devant le bureau," which proceeded to describe how I was agressée at 13:05 until the gardien intervened (I suppose he intervened a tiny bit at the very end). He copied everyone who checks their emails in IAS Chad (so about 5 people), but the news spread fast and I had about 20 phone calls that weekend (some at 6am on Saturday--I feel the love, but don't love me that much) to tell me how sorry they were and "Courage" and "are you really ok?" Kandos even called from the Congo where he is on vacation with his family to check in and start on an elaborate plan to keep me safe in the future. Hervé escorted me home in his car. The guards now come outside and stand by the door of the car every time I get in and out now. The IAS team will take care of their white girl foreigner who doesn't pay attention to motorcycles that might be following her car from the store because she always secretly plots how to accidentally on purpose knock motorcyclists off their bikes with her car anyway so she can't humanize motorcycle drivers, and consequently she doesn't notice the ones that are exhibiting concerning behavior. Anyway, Mom, the IAS people have got my back. 

We also had to file an official "declaration" of the loss
 of my driver's license so that I can get a new one.
We went back to the 1960's to file it on a type writer.
Herve was amused by how much I loved that.




This has nothing to do with the blog, but I saw this tea
in the shop the other day, and I thought I should probably buy this.
I really need to learn how to decline the sugar.
But I didn't. And I still can't decline the sugar.

I also didn't buy this one, but I still love this packaging.
A masterpiece of marketing genius.
This is why it is important for the Chinese to expand their hold on Africa.


 And this blog post is over. I wasn't sure if that was clear. But that's I've now told the story of what happened against the better judgement of many of my friends--and I'm still alive. And I'm still not crying. I am a bit more suspicious of people, but I've also taken great pains to flirt delicately with men I see every day on my running route(s) so that they will protect me if they see someone messing with me. And Annie is going to get me some pepper spray so watch out, criminals.