The people behind those State Department warnings

Ever wonder where those U.S. State Department warnings come from? Consider the State Department’s site for Uganda:

American citizens visiting Uganda are advised not to accept food or drink offered from a stranger, even a child, because such food may contain narcotics used to incapacitate a victim and facilitate a robbery… In 2006, an American citizen traveling by bus from Kenya to Uganda was incapacitated and robbed on the bus when the passenger accepted a sealed beverage from a fellow passenger.

Turns out this was my friend David at Tukopamoja. I’ve been reading that blog for months and had no idea it was him. We worked together in western Kenya as grad students in the academic sweatshops of Michael Kremer and Ted Miguel (we mean sweatshop in the nicest way possible).

Turns out that people really do get drugged on buses. From David’s old blog:

I wake up, lying in a bed, I have no idea what time it is, and it feels like my hand is cuffed to something. Within a few seconds, I see that I’m in a small hospital, hooked to some kind of IV. A few minutes later, I am released.

Apparently, in my brief mid-wakefulness, I was able to name the hotel I’m staying at, so the driver contacted it, and the hotel performed been marvelously: they sent a young man to watch me during the night and kept my bags safe.

Dave stays at nicer hotels than I do, so I will need to be more careful about what I drink.

Like most crimes against foreigners that I know of, he wasn’t harmed. Of course, the previous year he was strangled while being mugged in Kenya. Luckily the aforementioned Ted Miguel was around to pick him up at the hospital (unharmed). Dave officially gets the award for the most non-alcohol-related unconsciousness in Africa that I know of.