I lost my computer and I felt like the world was falling apart. Yes that’s an exaggeration, but it was really painful. Especially because someone had stolen my phone only two weeks before that and there are some important files on my computer that I hadn’t saved on my iCloud nor hard drive. So how did that happen?
I flew back from Dakar to Abidjan on Saturday, May 12th. I was on the 8 am flight of Air Côte d’Ivoire. Everything went pretty great and I arrived in Abidjan at 11am. I got home and then went at Centre Eulis to check how everything was going on. It’s only in the evening that I took the computer to write a review about the book I read in the plane. And that’s when a black screen welcomed me. I initially wondered whether I broke my screen during the trip. Then I noticed Arabic letters on the keyboard and at I couldn’t remember seeing them before. I thought I was becoming crazy. How was it possible that I didn’t notice that before ? Then I saw two other signs that made me understand that the MacBook Pro in my hands wasn’t mine.
I didn’t sleep in the airplane and I only went to the toilets during 5 minutes. But I wondered if someone exchanged the laptops during that time. It seemed difficult to believe that since I didn’t even use the MacBook for someone to know I had one. And then it hit me! The only time I put it out of my bag was when I was going through security. I had to put all my electronic items in the tray for control. It was at that point that the exchange happened. I was pretty sure it was a theft because I had a broken computer instead of mine. I started to look online for stories of computers stolen at the airport. And it comforted me in that idea.
I wondered if God was testing me. Was it a sign to tell me I should get away from social networks, internet in general, a little bit? Or that I should not be too attached to material things? Was it a punishment for ostentation ? Was it a way to make me think more about what is more important ? Absolutely everything went through my mind. I tried to tell myself it’s okay, that most of my files are saved somewhere, that it’s just a computer. I told myself that it could be worst, that I could die tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter anymore. I told myself that at least I used it for almost two years, so it wasn’t that bad. But despite all of that it still hurt a lot.
The next day, I sent a message to the International airport Blaise Diagne to report the presumed theft. I told few people about it and got some advices. I sent an email to someone at Air Côte d’Ivoire. I turned on the notification to know if the computer is online, through findmyIphone.com. I changed my passwords on all my social media accounts and everything else. And not knowing what else I could do, I went to have a very delicious garba to calm the pain.
I wasn’t really hoping for a miracle but I still asked God to make it happen or help me learn whatever lesson He wanted to teach me. And in the afternoon, I received a notification on Gmail saying my computer was turned on. I wasn’t able to locate it but I made it ring multiple times. Then something told me I should check Facebook to see if anyone messaged me about it and al hamdoulilah! A woman from Gambia told me she had my MacBook and I have hers. Long story short, we are now looking for ways to make the exchange because she is currently in Saudi Arabia and I am in Abidjan.
Why am I telling you this beside the fact that I love writing? Because this could happen to you too. It seems crazy but I was lucky that it was a mistake rather than a theft. If it was taken by someone with bad intentions, the person could have keep my computer since it’s in a better condition than the one I currently have. But thanks Allah, it was taken unintentionally by someone who fears Him. But you could lose your computer in the same way for good so here are six lessons I learned.
1- If you have a Mac, make sure you turn on Find My Mac on it. Maybe other brands have a different way of tracking computers so if they do, install whatever app is necessary.
2- Put some signs on the back of your laptop to easily recognize it. I didn’t really like having stickers on my laptop but I’m definitely going to add many when I have it back in shaa Allah.
3- Try to pay as much attention as you can on the tray where you have your personal stuffs, when you’re going through security. It can be difficult but do your best. Wait until your tray is going through the screen before passing the metal detector.
4- Use your real name on your computer account and on social media. That’s how Aisha was able to find me. She saw my name and googled me. Then she saw my different accounts and sent me a message. She would have not been able to do so if I didn’t have the same name everywhere.
5- Don’t keep sensitive information on your computer. Yes it’s difficult not to do so since all of our lives are on our electronic devices now. But if there is anything you don’t want other people to know, or see, don’t do it, delete it, or lock it with a very difficult password. I didn’t have anything of that kind to hide but you never know.
6- Save all your important files on iCloud and/or on an external hard drive. Try not to procrastinate with that.
7- Pray. This is actually first on the list. Pray before traveling, during the trip, and after. Pray if you find yourself in such situation and try to think about anything that should be learned from it instead of blaming God. Al hamdoulilah I am reassured about my computer but if even if it was stolen I would have assumed there is a lesson to keep from that loss as well.
Thank you Allah for this incredible experience. Thank you Aisha for your integrity. And thanks to all the people who advised me and were compassionate. There was more fear than harm.
If anyone knows a way to make the exchange as soon as possible, I’ll be extremely grateful.