I’ve been working at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya for about a year and a half now. The institute is a fine place and all—big campus, green grass, fast Internet, smart people doing good science, lots to learn, etc—but it couldn’t be situated in a worse place (Uthiru). In the words of the security guard in my apartment complex: “Everyone in Uthiru is a thief” (he lives next door, in Kawangware).
Uthiru, just outside the Nairobi city limits, is just like any other small town in Kenya I suppose. Lots of people riding bikes, a roundabout with people playing music and dancing, a good fish and chips joint, etc. I ride in and out regularly during daylight hours with no problems. As the darkness approaches, however, the story changes. I don’t make a habit of leaving work late, but the atmosphere is much different as the evening moves on after about 7 pm. Unless you’re a criminal or a police officer, you probably don’t want to be in Uthiru after dark!
I’m not entirely sure whether this is hilarious, sad, or just ironic: last week a few cops got caught taking bribes from matatus by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC). It was apparently a sting operation, complete with fake notes, undercover operatives, cameras, etc. For better or worse, the ordeal was caught on tape:
The news report said they were busted at a road block along “Nairobi–Nakuru” highway. We have two such road blocks near Uthiru (where I work), one of which is the one in the video, and the other being kwa roundabout, hapo madukani (at the roundabout, over by the shops). I’ve seen those road blocks nearly every day for the past one year I’ve been working at ILRI. Everyone has.