Getting stranded can happen to anyone, both at home or abroad. You can become stranded in an unfamiliar place, be out of cash or be lost in the middle of nowhere and you need to get help. This type of situation can scare anyone because it exposes one to danger, assault, kidnapping or even rape.
When in such a situation, it is best to;
- Be calm: Being stranded is a situation everyone detests because it exposes one to dangers, but when you act vulnerable, you invite those dangers to yourself. Since you can’t be too sure about the people around you, don’t draw attention. Calm yourself and train your mind to control your emotions during such a situation. Assure yourself that you will get out of it without fussing up and down because that won’t solve your problem.
- Don’t take irrational decisions: If you are stranded, don’t make decisions that arent thought through. Yes, you might be scared and anxious but be vigilant and discerning. It is unwise to make decisions without thinking them through. In such situations, always trust your instincts, not people or strangers around you. Don’t show your plight outwardly in a place or to people you are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with. If you do, you risk getting taken advantage of.
- Identify safe ones: A safe zone is a place or group of people you judge as safe. We didn’t say trust but ‘judge’ because you reached a conclusion from their appearances, age, and mood to know if they are alright or if you should keep it to yourself. These are people or places you can ask for help.
Places that can be safe zones are churches, mosques and police stations. People that can be safe zones are a group of middle-aged mothers with kids, a man and woman walking down the street, a man or woman walking a child or a group of women. Take note: Safe zones can also become dangerous regarding the time of day, so always be vigilant.
What to do when you are stranded
When stranded, there are some things you can do to help your situation, some of which are listed below.
How to get help if you are in an unfamiliar location, your wallet stolen, out of cash, or missed the last bus/train
1. Ask for help
Remember we mentioned safe zones; those are your go-to for help if you are stranded. When in an unfamiliar location or out of cash, your best bet is to ask for help. If you need car rides, begging for one at the bus stops or on the road is not advisable. You can ask for rides from people who own businesses in the immediate environment instead of strangers on the road.
2. Withdraw cash at the POS stand
You can withdraw at any POS stand if you are completely out of cash or have had your wallet stolen. Unlike ATMs that require debit cards, you can withdraw money from POS by transfer (if you are in Nigeria). You can make a transfer to the POS account instead of using your card. If your phone is missing or not with you, you can borrow the phone of the POS operative and call your family or friend to transfer money to you.
3. Always have a phone number memorized in your head
It is crucial for everybody to have at least three or two phone numbers stored in their memory. Mobile phones have made our lives easier by keeping almost everything we need, from notes to contacts. When our phones get stolen or misplaced, it can cause a big problem like getting us stranded. This is why parents always cram their phone numbers if they get lost. This is the best help we can give ourselves.
If you are stranded in the middle of nowhere or lost
1. Destroy something
If you are in the middle of nowhere and don’t know how to locate a town, the best thing you can do might be to break something. The idea for doing this is because if something gets broken, people might come around to fix it.
2. Call the national emergency number
Emergency lines are 24hr lines that are always on. It will surprise you that the emergency line works in a country like Nigeria. Once, when I was sceptical about it, I dialled the number to confirm if it was indeed working. I was startled and surprised when an agent picked up the call. So if you are stranded or lost in the middle of nowhere, it is an ideal number to call.
If you are stranded in a foreign country
1. Locate the Nigerian Embassy
The best place to locate help is the Nigerian embassy in that foreign country. It’s one of the reasons why embassies are established in the first place. You might get deported back home to your country, but if it’s a country you want to leave, then do so.
2. Find a homeless/refugee shelter
Another alternative is to find a homeless or refugee shelter. If your belongings were stolen on a road trip, the best bet is to seek help here. Some shelters cater to homeless people who need food or a helping hand; if you find yourself in this category, you know where to look.