No, not Jesus (but he is still coming), I’m talking about el niño! It’s all anyone’s talking about right now in Kenya. There is a drought in Kenya, and the meteorologists announced a few weeks ago that “el niño rains” will come to save the day. Well I think they’re here, because I just got home from walking around town and I’m soaked. I went to town with a few colleagues after work to drink a cup of coffee, but on the way home I was caught in a rain storm. It’s Friday so there are a million people in town enjoying the beginning of the weekend, all trying to catch matatus home. That’s nice and all but it means there’s no room for me to stand under the cover of the nearby shops while waiting for my matatu. I figured it just meant I’d be first to hop in the matatu when it came, albeit sopping wet.
On a related note, here’s a word from the (now) wise: don’t put your laptop under your shirt when it’s raining — you might end up getting arrested. I was caught in the rain last Saturday evening with my laptop so I put it under my shirt to shield it from the rain. As I was walking near Havana in Westlands some policemen hollered, “
Hey, come here.” at me. By now I’m used to people yelling stupid things at me, and every shop along that road has a security guard standing out front, so my buddy and I just kept walking. Soon enough they were yelling, “
Simama hapo!” (stop/stand there) and we realized they weren’t regular security guards. They ran over to us, furious, and demanded that we produce our identification (which I didn’t have), and that I show them what was in my bag. I revealed my laptop and they promptly accused me of stealing it, and ordered me to show them the receipt for its purchase. I exclaimed how ridiculous that was, to which he asked if I was “above the law,” to which I then asked him to show me the law which states I carry the receipts for every item on my person. “Oh, I’ll show you, it’s at the station.” Haha, ooops.
By then we were surrounded by a small crowd and were arguing about the ridiculousness of asking someone to produce a receipt on the spot. I had already called my roommate and he was bringing my passport chop chop. In the mean time I asked a lot of stupid questions, they gave a lot of stupid answers, and I told them I was sorry and yeah, we should have stopped when they asked us to. Eventually they just told us to be careful or whatever and left us alone (I didn’t even pay a bribe!). You have to pump the egos of Kenyan police. I feel sorry for Kenyans who are disturbed by these guys every day. Aside from them shooting first and asking questions later, they do annoying things like stopping a matatu (minibus used for public transit) in the middle of the street and telling the passenger in the front seat to shuka (“get out”) so they can ride instead.
Lesson learned: carry passport.