After a long break from my blog, I've decided to take up writing again. The title will have to change as I've now been in Kenya 17 months. I have made the transition from VSO volunteer to a speech and language private practice in a few months and well, it's been a lot of hard work and uncomfortable travel by matatu.
I have learned to "just wait" in Kenya but sometimes, there seems no reason for waiting. For example, waiting 5 months to buy a car...and still waiting
This is the story of a woman so tortured by waiting for a car that never existed, she had to navigate the city of Nairobi by matau...
He promised to transport the Prado Landcruiser fromJ uba, Sudan to Kampala and then on to Nairobi...The Prado was impounded along the way as it was a stolen vehicle
Meanwhile, back in Nairobi, my deposit of 1000 euro lay in the hands of an unscrupolous kenyan who wrote a blank cheque when I demanded my money back...which sent me to the police...
With no contact from my conman, I stood tto loose all the money untill I remembered I had met a friend of his at a barabeque and still had her number...
I rang his friend who has a physical address for his parents. I rang another contact of his who mentioned that my conman had studied in the UK for several years and now made a living making opportunities for himself....
Straight to the police station I went with the blank cheque and the parent's address. 2 police officers agreed to make a visit to the parent's home and they accompanied us, with 2 AK 47s ...no police vehicle as they cant afford them
In fact the inside of a police station in Kenya is very barren, only an outdated picture of Kibaki, no photocopier or stationary of any kind...few filing cabinets..or furniture
Just several hungry looking police in dark mouldy rooms
We made our way past the parent's guards and landed on their front porch, with the police...The father was old and frail, one legged , having lost the other to illness. The mother seemed shocked to hear her son was involved in this scandal and promised to beat him when she caught up with him
He has learned many bad habits in the UK, she said
He was no longer in Kenya..hiding out in Tanzania. He had accompanied his father for medical treatment to Arusha and decided to stay there as he was wanted by several people in Nairobi, people like me who were stupid enough to get involved with him
I will pay you,she said
You will get your money back before Christmas if I have anything to do with it
I waited....and sure enough, true to her word, she rang me the day before Christmas eve, to arrange a meeting at the police station. She was going to pay back all the money her son owed on the condition that I drop the charges
I agreed and popped into the police station alone, or should I stay waited in the police station for several hours and endured ingenious requests for money and emotional blackmail
While I waited for the parents to arrive, I was invited into one of the dark mouldy rooms and offered a seat
You will have to give us a Christmas present since its Christmas and we have worked so hard getting your money back
O, I don't think there is a need for that since you have a salary
besides Kibaki ensures you are looked after
I have used my mobile phone to arrange this and we are given little money for that, says the frustrated female police officer
I'm sorry, its just that I'm Irish and in Ireland, we don't pay extra to people who are paid a salary to do their job
The 2 other piped in, realising that their colleague was failing to extract the bribe
It is not like corruption, you give a gift from your heart for a job well done
Really, I said. I visited another police station when my IPOD was robbed and no one assisted me despite presents
Well now we will assist you and you will get your money back....just a little from your heart
I have nothing in my pocket...you can ask the parents for money if you like
We cannot ask the parents
Well it is against my values to give bribes
just a little gift
I'm going to wait outside under the tree until them come
An hour dragged by..and then the father was wheeled in to pay his son's debt. My heart sank when he was unable to sign his signature due to his hand tremor...
Then the counting of the 1000 shilling notes began.It takes a long time to count out all the deposit money,all the while surrrounded by greedy police requiring gifts
I gathered the money after recounting and ran out to the nearest taxi and straight to Barclays bank as fast as I could...
So no car, but my deposit back.....and what a cost