I used to hear stories of people being intercepted while on their way to work on a random day without a good reason. I would always wonder why such things happened to people because it had never happened to me. Whoever came up with the saying ‘experience is the best teacher’ must have gone through so much because the accuracy of that statement is 101% which I am sure you already know if you are reading this. I have friends who have spent some precious hours in jail cells and I don’t want to imagine the horror; the kind of cells I have in my mind are those featured in Nairobi Half Life which is purely escandaloso to imagine a human in there.
Well, now I have a story of mine (not really), a story of Rob and I; where we had an encounter with blue-draped human during the scorching hours of a day. (I think this is the part where you cue in all the sad songs). If you have ever come across a police officer in Kenya during those days when everyone is stopped by the roadside, and bundled up into a backless vehicle, then you know. It was one fateful mid-morning that Rob and I were running errands as interns. We got into a cab after leaving one haunted mall knowing that our problems were just about done and then he appeared and lifted his hand motioning for the driver to stop even though that particular person wasn’t a traffic officer.
Alas! He asked for the windows to be rolled down and did the usual peeping business and he discovered that the ladies had not fastened their seat belts and we had ‘guilty’ written all over our faces. Now, in such instances, the first reaction that Rob and I would give is to laugh, (we became friends over laughter) but we couldn’t because police man was looking at us and nobody would want to piss him off. He continued with the normal 3 secs silence to ensure that we were scared to death before he read to us our offences.
“Sasa nimewashika kwa sababu hamjafunga mshipi. You are now prisoners. Sasa shukeni tuandamane hadi police station. Dereva, fungulia hii waschana mlango.”
To say that his words weren’t funny is a blatant lie. I thought for a moment that this wasn’t happening or maybe he was bluffing but he kept on glaring at us and motioning for us to leave the car. There was no way I was going to do that. I couldn’t imagine spending time in a cell let alone call my dad to tell him that I had been jailed. At this point, Rob was stifling a laugh and I knew that the situation was about to go south if I joined her in laughing so I decided to put my talent to use and get us out of this situation. I looked at the officer with my teary eyes and pleaded with him. It might have not been a wise move but that was the only thing that I could think of at that moment.
His glare softened but something else rose from the depths of his eyes. He started asking us our names, where we come from, where we work. After all those questions he still couldn’t get what he was looking for, our tribes! He decided to go straight to the point and asked us our tribes. After voicing them out, he started asking for cash and our driver at that point intervened and begged him to leave us. Well, it took a lot of convincing and he let us go after making some misogynistic remarks. I was relieved but also enraged at his comments but this is the point where you say bora uhai because it could have been worse. I’m glad we were able to escape the cells and I definitely learnt me lesson; I always fasten my seat belt, so does Rob.