…achilles sore from the straps of your heels rubbing onto it…
We respond varyingly to being victims of crime; threats, assault, abuse, mugging and heaven forbid rape, name it. Some would retreat and resent everything. Others will self-loath for not doing things differently. Some may develop stress related issues like anxiety. I could go on and on, I won’t. I’ve been mugged thrice. Once paradoxically, by a law enforcer (which is like not so paradoxical if you live in Nairobi). I had to be docile, because you don’t want to mess with ‘serikali’ unless you’re (insert drumroll) Boniface Mwangi, you don’t mind cold concrete floors or are RICH. Gava is really sticking it to us, eh? Sadly, being robbed Is an initiation of some sorts here, the dark underbelly of the city in the sun. So when shit hits the fan or flashes too close my innate instinct is flight-run, cowards live longer so I heard? I mean except Judas. There’s too much going wrong already, I wish for a safe or at least a safe-ish space where the only things we really should be terrified about are adults who dip bread in tea and girls who live along Thika Road.
Lady luck has a soft spot for me, so far, I have gone unscathed but that’s not the case for everyone, for instance YOU!
“Oya oya wabebe, wabebe! wabebe! Ronga na soo,” a konda yells while dangling from a heavily graffitied bus.
It’s a beehive – evening rush hour. Cars are honking, shirtless cart-men manoeuvre oncoming traffic down Haile Selassie Avenue, some rando tries selling you a ‘sacheted’ pesticide – which you take as an insult, a woman takes off her wig and scuffles her way into a PSV – badass, don’t be shocked, dignity doesn’t thrive in chaos. The hassle of finding transport is too much, so you head towards Moi Avenue trying to
find Nemo , my bad, I mean trying to find a café to buy time. As you walk, achilles sore from the straps of your heels rubbing onto it, a fella yanks your phone and takes off, his strides slow for a thief but whatever. You make chase belting ‘mwizi, mwizi’ but it’s futile because, again, Nairobi. He takes a corner into an alley and just as you almost catch up he stops in his track and four more guys appear, two from the front two from the back. At this moment it hits you, his run was a ruse to a bigger catch. He brandishes a knife and holds it against your belly, his eyes maintaining a determined twitch.
You aren’t much of a religious person but you mumbled something, doesn’t matter how feeble. They empty you off; earings, bracelets, down to your heels (defence lawyers would be like, they didn’t steal they just alleviated pain off your Achilles). There you are, bemused, urine stench stinging your nasal canals, a cat sized rat runs across, up a gutter and and disappears. The youngest attacker asks where you were going to, you answer. He ejects your SIM card hands it to you.
“Shika hii, ni fare tumia vizuri,” he hands you 200 bob from your own purse and they casually bounce.
One smirks at you as they thin away. Coming from a place where the only worries are fast speaking irate public, too much bananas and poorly matched outfits. It all unfolds too fast for a novice girl from the Highlands and hills of Gusii to fathom. You embrace the only thing you have left, inherent anger. Welcome to the city in the sun.
I’d love to hear your mugging stories in the comment section. Please share.
Simply Tomas – Mpenzi