Monday, November 12, 2012


There we were. A bunch of misfits all squeezed up into the back of the pick up. There was an eerie silence. Like the first day at school and everyone was trying to find their place on the pecking order. Everyone seemed terrified. Well except the hawker who just looked like this was his original weekend plan. He sat in the corner and quietly counted his money. Then after a few minutes he took a wad of cash and stuffed it down his pants. Yeah that was the look on my face too. I thought he was bulking up his junk to look more impressive in jail. Misplaced priorities. But I was wrong.

I was by far the youngest law breaker...well if you don't count the crying toddler. But I am pretty sure he hadn't been nabbed on his own. That said I wouldn't put it past the City Council to arrest a 2 year old for jay crawling.The silence persisted while we drove around town picking up more people. They had the same confused look every time they would get forced into the back of the truck. Why am I here? I have a date/child/wedding/class to attend to. 

My friends kept calling to figure out where we were. We were everywhere. The City Council were basically being Noah and this filthy little truck was their ark. They were determined to get at least one of everything. When we left town the conversation suddenly picked up. It's like somehow some volume knob had been replaced and everyone found their voice. Topic of conversation? How innocent we all were. The charges ranged from the ludicrous to the laughable. They all involved potted plants, alleged littering or breathing on the wrong side of the road. Or as kanjo would refer to it: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. In fact the only person who looked completely guilty was the hawker.

Minutes later we got to a police station and pulled out of the truck. Again I thought about making a wild dash for it but the big hairy chested dude was lurking nearby. He seemed to have taken a particular liking to me. He just needed an excuse to chase me down. Not like that you pervs. We got handed over to the cops like little kids.  Eeeeh. Ndio hawa wengine. Wachukue waweke ndani.  Then there was a round of high fives and hugs like these guys had just come back from the war front. And then we were led inside.

The cops smelled a bit better than kanjo. But that's probably because I was too scared to breathe at this point. I was going TO JAIL. My friends called again asking for my whereabouts. I had no idea so I asked one of the cops. Kamukunji Police Station. I relayed the information. Apparently none of us knew where that was. I turned to the cop to ask for directions for my rescuers and his first reaction was an incredulous reply.  Unaishi Nairobi na hujui mahali Kamukunji iko? Straight look on his face. Like somehow that's the yard stick by which you judge a real Nairobian; spot the police station on the map. Begrudgingly he gave me directions that I passed on.

Then they started taking our information. Name? I thought about the most random fake name I could find. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. For some random reason I could only think of names from Vioja Mahakamani and God knows I wouldn't have gotten away with saying my name was Ondiek Nyuka Quarter. Then they took my belt (which I really needed), phone, watch and money and led us down a narrow, dark, dank corridor. The women disappeared to one side and we were taken to another. The rats went to both sides. No discrimination.

And thus began my time in the slammer. By this time the train to Mombasa seemed like a distant memory. And that train would be leaving within the hour without me if I didn't make it out of this place...


  1. Well written. I pray I never get to commute in a CCN pickup or be a guest of the state.

  2. Okay what about part 3?

  3. Brian you got madd talent!!! eargerly awaiting part 3 :-)