I had called John as we left my mothers apartment building and told him to come pick us up from the road outside. Even he seemed confused as to why I would wait for him outside. The thing is, we needed to go to the shop right outside to buy pesticides and some other item I forget so it only made sense. By the time we got down and had purchased the goods, he would be there. Or so we thought.
We had to wait a few minutes. Couldn’t have possibly been 10 minutes but a lot can happen in 10 minutes. A lot can happen in 2 minutes in fact; and I’ll give you an example. In two minutes, a motorcycle with 3 young men on it can ride by you. The man behind the handles can pull out a duct taped pistol (looked like a 9mm) as two others begin to offload you of…well, everything. They can get in your pockets and that of the lady behind you and pick everything they can carry off you. Then they can ride off and leave you destitute. Then you will remember every smart idea you had two minutes earlier for two minutes afterwards.
This is primarily why given half a chance to get to know someone, I take it. Cab drivers are my favorite people to interact with. With the hours lost to traffic in this city, that time feels less wasted if you can learn even one new thing, make a new friend as your life gains a new dimension. One of my favorite cabbies, let’s call him John, hangs around the Ngong Road/Kilimani area quite a bit.
One day we found ourselves waiting for a larger group of people at Prestige Mall and he decided that we had ample time to get his car washed. So into Kibera we went, greeting miscellaneous folk on the road, the old lady that sells fruits, the kids who split into two groups and reenact AFC vs Gor every weekend, that random cop who we gave a ride when his cavalry was late and he had resulted to walk the distance. We waved, exchanged a word or three and then moved toward the “Car Wash”.
It technically wasn’t a car wash, just a place where these 7 or so youngsters hung around washing cars, listening to music and talking shit all day. I had only had the pleasure of talking to 4 of them, but not for lack of trying. They didn’t trust me. I wasn’t from there. They washed the car with no incident and at an extreme discount, returning lost monies – coins and notes alike – that had found themselves under the seats and in between consoles. He told them I would bring my car next time and we parted ways. Continue reading →
I don’t know why this story has affected me so much. I suppose it’s because I feel like it happened while I watched. It started this morning with a tweet from an old school pal. I didn’t think that much about it. I was just glad that Twitter was being used for good. Lately, the Kenyan online community has gained mass, and the world is noticing. We’ve had several worldwide trends, and YouTube even gave us our own page! But too often, Kenyan Twitter Trends [or TTs] are used for malice, jokes, and mischief. So it was nice to see us RTing for good.
Throughout the day, there were updates and more RTs, punctuated by a silly Twitter beef. A group was formed on Facebook and the search continued. Life went on pretty much as usual, and I hoped this little boy would be found. Yes, I know he was 28 years old, but he was @njerimaina’s kid brother, and he was somebody’s son.
We get a lot of emails with people’s complaints and stories and in many cases do the best we can to help them out. But last week we received an email that was quite shocking and we felt I had to share it with you. The title frames the tale, but barely scrapes the surface of the story. I won’t babble on longer. Read below for Grace’s story. Continue reading →
They are the invisible ghosts woven into the fabric of our society. We rarely, if ever, talk about them or confront them simply because we think if we don’t see them, they don’t exist. Does it help that I don’t like to play the rules? Continue reading →
I really can’t be sure; all I know is that the driver jumped in and hit the accelerator before his accomplice had even gotten both feet in the car. The onlookers swore to have seen nothing and cautioned my curiosity. There were no police reports. The news that night showed growth in the ICT sector and squabbling between Ministers and their assistants; fighting for themselves and not for us. Continue reading →