Children at a younger age have a false misconception about the world and the activities going on around them. They view the world as a safe haven where everyone has the moral obligation to be good to the neighbor. When I was young, I used to share the same thinking children have, as I believed that my parents were my major pillars in life. My parents were responsible for making crucial decisions concerning my life, and this made me to falsely believe all families were equal, and that all neighbors were good and loving people.
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Things however took a sudden turn when I turned 18 years. My parents allowed me to make my own decisions concerning my life. This changed my life dramatically as life was different from the one I got used to in the new places I visited. People did not care about others; there were hatred, violence, poverty, and many others vices. This came as a shock to me, as I could not believe that all those years I had lived in a world of my own.
One jarring encounter that completely changed my view of the world in a negative way was when heavily armed men with the intention of robbing a bank invaded the bank that I had visited to make certain transactions. This was three years ago, and I vividly remember the events that unfolded on that fateful day. My parents had advised me to open my own bank account where I could be saving my earnings and allowances. This was aimed at molding me into a responsible person with the ability to handle finances. I woke up at dawn so that I could be one of the first customers to be served by the bankers as banks were known for long queues at the time. On arrival, I was rudely surprised to find that there were other customers who had arrived earlier.
However, this did not disappoint me since the joyous feeling of getting my own account was a more interesting experience than anything. At around 9 am the bank was a beehive of activities with everyone determined to finish their transactions. A group of five masked men arrived, and this seemed to piss them off because they started shooting in the air and ordering everyone to lie flat on the ground. I had never heard sounds of gunshots and these made me tremble. “No one dare make a sound,” one of them shouted, and soon the screams of women and men died down, and the bank was silent. They asked for the bank manager, and roughed him up threatening him to open the main door or be shot dead. Sadly, two security guards who tried to save the day were sprayed with bullets, killing them instantly. I had never seen so much blood in my life, and it shocked me at how the robbers killed their fellow humans without conscience.
Onlookers heard the gunshots and alerted the police as sounds of sirens could be heard from a distance. I heaved a sigh of relief, but things were not over yet. The robbers had taken money but had not finished with us; they took several hostages whom they used to blackmail the police into giving them way. Unfortunately, I was one of the hostages, and they warned us that any foolish move would get us killed. All I could think of was my parents and their reaction once they got the news. My whole life flashed before me as we were lined up with guns pointed directly at our heads. This was really traumatizing since I had only seen this in movies and never realized that it was something that could happen to me in real life.
Once outside, the armed robbers shouted to the police to step back, or they would shoot us without hesitation. I do not remember what followed because the next thing I remember was that I was lying flat on the ground, and bullets were flying everywhere. I thought I would die there. My parents’ image flashed through my mind, and I whispered a prayer. After a few minutes, everything went silent, and I could smell heavy blood scent. The thugs had been shot by the police. Unfortunately, two other hostages were also shot during the commotion. I could not tell whether they were alive or dead but, unbelievingly, I was alive. Some police officers had also been badly wounded and soon ambulances came to rush the wounded to hospital. I did not know how my parents had reached at the site, but I stood there muttering in disbelief and rooted to the ground.
From this shaking and strident experience, I learnt that the naivety in my view of the world had to vanish. My mind broadened, and I learnt to appreciate those who were close to me like my family because I could not imagine how the hostages’ families were feeling with them being shot and lying in the hospital. I learnt that there were people in the world who were cruel and were out to harm others. This experience left me with trust issues particularly to strangers. I know it will take a long time for me to regain trust in strangers. I also realized that being an adult was more difficult than I thought due to the responsibility of decision making, actions and repercussions.