Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Trip To Kajiado

Wednesday 7 July 2010

We had to take Esther, the girl we re-homed from Maasailand to Kisii, to court in Kajiado to give evidence in the case against her former employer for employment of a minor. As the trip is almost 400 km and there is no direct transport, we hired a car.

We left Kisii at about 6am and made good time to Narok, where we stopped for breakfast.

We sailed through Nairobi, comparatively speaking, hitting only minor jams and soon we were at Athi River. This is where the trip got complicated. The main road had been slightly re-routed, but the road to Kajiado only joined the old road, so we missed it – several times.

Eventually we found a road and we were on our way again, but we were too late for the court case, when was adjourned. Not wanting the trip to be totally wasted, we visited the Kajiado Children’s Home, where Esther had stayed for her time in Maasailand. It is a wonderful establishment, but all the children are Maasai and of course, Esther is Gusii.

I learned something during our visit, when greeting a Maasai child; you place your hand on their head. They even bow their heads forward so accept this greeting – cute.

Before leaving Kajiado town, we called in at a bank to pick up the money I had arranged to be sent to me from the UK to fund the trip and other things.

Outside Athi River, we found a good eating house and ate excellent nyama choma, chips and a coke. It was superb. Vincent was especially pleased as they played Kenny Rogers CDs while we were there.

On the road again and we hit Nairobi at rush hour – and got lost. WE went round and round and eventually found the Uhuru Highway that would lead us to the junction we wanted for Narok. As we climbed the escarpment, we ran into mist and rain, and we missed the turning we needed to go to Narok.

After a quick discussion, we decided to continue on to Nakuru, through Kericho and then to Kisii. It is a good road for most of the way and with the weather threatening to close in, it seemed a good option.

As it happened, as we descended into the Rift Valley, the weather cleared and we made good progress and soon reached Nakuru.

But about 30 km outside Nakuru, in a small village, as we approached the brow of a hill, two sets of headlights appeared in front of us two vehicles side by side.

There was nowhere to go to the left, just a steep embankment, nowhere to go straight ahead other than a head-on collision, so I veered to the right, hoping to find a way past the two oncoming vehicles. I didn’t.

When I came round, we were stationery, the windscreen was a mess and the airbags had deployed. But Vincent was not in the car next to me. There was a lot of shouting in Swahili and I saw that there were twenty or thirty men gathered round, some trying to get me out of the car. I could feel hands in my pockets. They were not my hands. When I stood up, my legs were not my own, I could barely think, but I was aware that my pockets were empty, my recently drawn money, passport, wallet, cell phone, even the loose change. But I wanted to find Vincent, and I remembered that there had been someone else in the car, but who?

Vincent was on the ground next to the car. He had a nasty gash on his forehead and he told me that his leg was broken – this was an understatement. Esther was, of course the other passenger and I found her being comforted by two women.

I went back to the car and borrowed a torch as mine was missing. The briefcase was not in the car, but this was of little consequence. The satnav was also missing. I looked for anything that belonged to any of us, but there was nothing as far as I could see.

We had been cleaned out.

A man who stated that he was a policeman kept telling me that this was a bad community, in other words, don’t make a fuss. He then handed me my video camera bag. I looked in it and the camera was still there, with all the DVDs. I was thankful for that.

A coach stopped and the three of us were bundled aboard and not too long after, we were at Nakuru hospital.

We were taken to casualty and Vincent was whisked off to x-ray. Esther was examined as was I. I was so lucky. I had nothing but cuts. Bruises and sprains as far as they could tell. I refused x-rays for my shoulder. I knew it wasn’t broken. It was painful but not painful enough, so I was discharged. ‘Where was I going to stay?’ I was asked. I explained that we were destitute, so they offered me a bed in an ante room, for which I was grateful.

I managed to borrow a phone and called Abigael, Vincent’s wife and she told me that she would come to Nakuru but the credit ran out before we could say more.

I slept and had nightmares. When I awoke, I went over and over the accident in my mind, but it did not become any clearer.

I must have slept some more because I was woken up by a member of staff, possibly a junior doctor. I was taken to see Vincent and then Esther. I went back to Vincent when Abigael walked into the ward. I was so relieved to see an able-bodied friendly face.