How I got robbed!…(almost)
My life has been described using several words: quiet, conservative, personal and by those who don’t know me and don’t give a hoot about my extra serving of feelings, boring. I am what you would call an extroverted introvert. And I do get where those who describe my existence as such come from. They come from Sub Saharan Africa. In sub Saharan Africa, if you are not drinking yourself silly, clubbing, wearing tiny dresses, being groped by a man on the dance floor or voluntarily rubbing your derriere on his zipper area, you are not eating life with a big spoon. As it stands, I am picking at mine with a tooth pick and nibbling on the nibble-able parts of this kind of fun.
The last time I was in a club, I rubbed torsos with red eyed men who had smoke coming out of all their visible openings and ladies who had eye lashes lined with thick mascara that might have added an ounce or two to their overall masses, wearing dresses with plunging necklines and those without heavy bossoms relying on the mercy of push up bras. I met some crying in the bathroom. I guess some alcohol brands make women weepy. Or maybe it was the smoke. Anyway, I was freaked out. There is little that beats being sober in a crowd of swaying bodies. It is almost like the night of the living dead.
You would think that with the specs of grey matter between my two years, I would embrace the logical thing which is to down a Johnny. You would be allowed to think that. Your thinking would be wrong. This is because, my relationship with Johnny is what you would describe as complicated. I am always afraid that Jonny will coax me into spilling mine and others’ skeletons, or worse yet, jump on the table and belly dance to the merriment of all and sundry. That’s right. I am a wild horse that has been domesticated. Every time I try to release my glorious mane and run wild, I am bottled up by society and morals and the worst of them all, shame.
So, I have resigned myself to volunteering and being of use to other human beings. And so, the story begins…
On a hot sunny day in the month of October, yours truly decided to volunteer for a course that she is passionate about. The education of the girl child. The job was being done in a beautiful forest that I had never ventured into before, partly due to my misinformed phobias and partly due to personal idiosyncrasies.
One of the happy surprises that happened on me was the presence of security.There was this particularly vigilant one who I will call Wafula. This is because that was his name. Wafula was very sweet, in that way that only Luhyas can be. However, don’t let this fool you. He had his eyes wide open. (They were really huge). Not even my toothy smile could charm him enough to let me pass without parting with my identification card.
By the time I reached the field where I was going to set up the tent, I had carried a lot of dust (nilikuwa nimebebaba vumbi nyingi). Needless to state, it was a very dusty and hot day. I was perspiring as if I was getting paid. By the time my friend and I finished setting up the tent, it was already 8.00 pm. The very kind people we were working with called a cab for us and so we were back on our way home… until I remembered that I had left sweet Wafula with my identification card. Now, I am a Kenyan who has a phobia for the men in green who have a tendency to harass helpless damsels without identification cards. So my friend and I asked the cab guy to drop us for a little while so that we could go for our IDs. We left another friend of ours in the vehicle, with our bags, phones, money and other paraphernalia that ladies stuff in their bags like umbrellas and an extra pair of socks or undies (depending on which one we will need first) ,since we would only be gone for a ‘giffy‘.
Within the fraction of a second, we turned around and the car was gone! I mean, there was nothing at the spot that we had left it. Nada! Gutari na Kindu! Several blinks later, there was still nothing! So, I started to laugh, like “Okay guys, you got us. you can come out now… haha”. Nothing. “Aki Wasee nimekaa rada! You can stop hiding from the darkness, I wanna wave at the cameras now” Nothing. I reached for my phone but alas! My phone and all my other valuables were in the car. Same case for my friend’s. We were literally on the outside perimeter of a forest, with a small stream running deep into the bushes and in the non-comforting company of the crickets, with nothing in our hands save for our IDs.
The personal vehicles that were passing near us sped faster at our attempts to signal them for help. I suppose it’s only logical for them to assume that we were thieves masquerading as women who had just been robbed, given how dusty our feet were, and the way my hair spiked out in utter disregard for the image that I had to uphold and the reputation that I had to protect.
I felt like scratching my rib cage or anything to keep the hot tears of assumption from falling. Not
only was I having difficulty coming to terms with the idea that Chris, my phone and I were separated for good, I was worried sick about our other friend who had been left in the car. Her pregnant self was no match for the cab driver whose name we did not know and whose cab number we had not bothered to even look at!
We crossed the road and went to the gate of the Belgian Embassy. We knocked on the gate and the peep hole was opened cautiously. The watchman asked us what we wanted and we poured out information that was in no particular order. We were in the middle of nowhere, having been robbed by some man in some car, that may or may not have been Navy blue, because it was in the darkness and we were not exactly particular about the color of the car that was to take us home. For all I know, it could have been a horse drawn carriage and the horse would have had wheels in the place of hooves. We also had not memorized our other friend’s(the one left in the car) number!
Anyway, in our frantic attempts to look here and there as we explained our incredulously unbelievable predicament, my eyes caught lights of what seemed like a vehicle flashing at us. The relief that washed over me can only be accurately described by a parched desert traveler on having obtained his fill of cool clean fresh drinking water. We rushed to the car with several tongue lashes prepared for my friend and her accomplice, the cab driver, for that horrible horrible prank!
We did get home safely, but it was not lost on me just how easily kidnap and theft can happen. On that note, have a careful week now,won’t you?
Originally published at www.alicewanjiru.com on October 21, 2015.