Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

This work of fiction, inspired by actual events, is my submission for Friday Fictioneers that is ably hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.

Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.

Picture copyright Janet Webb



Peter and his daughter Janice queued patiently at the supermarket till, finally buying the toy that Janice had long agitated for.

“Daddy,” Janice said “I want to go for the cooking event upstairs.”

“I’m sorry, not today. We’re going visiting. We’ll plan and go another day.”

Janice kept silent.

Just as they left the till, there were some loud sounds. It seemed everyone froze, then realisation hit.


Reactions were varied but all dramatic. Some people screamed, some dropped to the floor.

More gunshots.

Peter grabbed Janice and made a crouching run for the exit.

Their purchase no longer mattered.


100 words

You can read pieces by other participants here:

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.


This story is inspired by actual events here in Nairobi. I am yet to write a longer blog post about that, but for now, here are a few links.

(If I don’t get lazy, I may write a longer fictional piece on that terrorist attack).





Photo credit: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

About Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:

Every week you get a picture.

Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).

You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

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Kenya will be holding General Elections on Monday 4th March 2013. I urge all Kenyans who registered as voters to go and vote. Interest is highest in the Presidential race. There are two main contenders, each with passionate supporters, and those supporters will almost certainly go and vote for their preferred aspirant on Monday. There are also six other candidates running for President.

Some people may feel that the candidate they want does not stand a realistic chance of winning and those who are undecided. It is these groups that I want to address.

Even if you think your candidate is unlikely to win, go and vote.
You have two options, and whichever one you pick, your vote will count: Vote for the candidate you want, even if he or she will not win, or vote for one of the two main contenders (If you think they are both bad, choose the ‘lesser evil.’). Either way, please Go and Vote.

The reason I say you should still vote for your choice even if you think they will not win is simple: The Constitution requires that to be elected President, one must win more than 50% of the votes cast. That means that to win, one must get more votes than the other competitors combined. In other words, for every vote cast for the competitors, the winning candidate must get a matching vote and in the end at least one extra vote. So by voting, you will make the winner have to earn their victory.
To put it yet another way, the higher the total number of votes cast, the more votes a candidate must have in order to win (It is harder to get 50% of 14 million votes than to get 50% of 5 million votes). So, your vote does count. Please Go and Vote.

If we go to a run-off, then you will have only two candidates to choose from. Choose the one you prefer, or choose the one you dislike less, but again, go and vote. Failing to vote makes it easier for either to win.

If you do not know who is vying for which position in the place where you registered to vote, you can go to
http://info.mzalendo.com/ and get a list of the aspirants.
You can also go to myaspirantmyleader.com, but I find the mzalendo site easier to use.

Go and vote on Monday.

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[This post is very Nairobi-centric]

1 US$ is about 85 Kenya Shillings (85 bob)

2 km  is about 1.2 miles

The Government of Kenya decided to do something about road accidents in the country. It basically increased the penalties applicable for various traffic offences, and introduced some new regulations – renewal of license every 3(?) years after an eye test, among others.

Matatu (privately-run public transport vehicles) operators went on strike, protesting these changes, and many withdrew their vehicles from the road. There were some reports of violence. The time to leave work and go home arrived. I did not have our car, and I did not want to ask my wife to come pick me.

Nairobi matatu

Nairobi matatu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got out of the company car just after it emerged from Karuna Close and joined Waiyaki Way. I crossed Waiyaki Way, saw the walking crowd and joined them. This was 6:25 p.m. I actually jogged a little bit but settled for a brisk walk instead. I encountered a man selling boiled eggs (and sausages too, I think) and bought one egg. I walked on.

There were some matatus that were calling for passengers to Sodom for 30bob. I did not know where Sodom was and I did not want to ask (yes, I am a man), so I walked on.

I turned into Muthangari Drive, there were quite a number of us walking. I was sweating by this time.

I emerged on James Gichuru Road at 6:50 p.m. That’s about 2.6 km in 25 minutes.
It turned out that many of those walking with me turned right at some point, leaving James Gichuru Road. They were probably going to Kawangware. Soon there were very few people walking near me, but plenty of vehicular traffic.

7:11p.m. Lavington Green Shopping Centre. 5 km covered.
I paused to take a break and send some texts. Then onward Christian soldier!

7:40p.m. The Junction. 7.4 km walked.

I crossed the street and went to the bust stop.
A motorbike guy offered a ride to Karen for 100 bob. No thanks. The usual matatu fare is 30 bob.
A car stopped and someone said 100 bob to Karen. Some guys got in, Then the guy said 50 bob to Karen. I don’t know what cause the sudden price drop, but someone took the remaining seat. I wondered if the guys who had gotten in already would also pay 50 bob.

Then another vehicle came and said 50 bob to Karen, 100 to Rongai. I got in and sat at the front seat. I was pleased.

8:11p.m. Got off the vehicle at Karen roundabout.
I started the 2km walk home.
My right knee started paining somewhat. The road had very few pedestrians and little light, apart from that from passing vehicles. The bushes seemed more prominent in this darkness, than when I drive by during the day, but I was not scared.

Then I felt the first drops of rain! Oh dear. I started jogging, but that did not last long. Neither did the threat of a drizzle or a downpour.

8:33 Home

(Now you can figure out around where I live 🙂 )



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Seeing that this blog is described as Baba Amor’s Thoughts, it would be remiss of me not to share my views on some specific, recent happenings here in Kenya.
This is based on news reports:
On Saturday 10th November, a group of about 107 police officers entered Suguta Valley in Samburu, Kenya in pursuit of cattle rustlers.
They were shot at, allegedly by the rustlers.
Several of the police officers were killed, some fled and some were left lying wounded.
It is reported that some of those wounded remained there and died, even as late as Monday (about 48 hours after the shootings). Other survivors were found by some children who were herding cattle.
The death toll currently stands at 42 policemen.
Let me say that again: Fourty Two policemen killed.

Some of the bodies remained there until Tuesday or thereabouts, when the government finally went to collect them and also transported some of the survivors to Nairobi.
The relatives of the police officers were not kept well updated, and some had to go to the valley to identify the bodies of their relatives.
The police commissioner refused to resign, saying the responsibility for the operation lay with his juniors in the field.
Naturally, the minister in charge of the relevant ministry did not resign.
Kenya’s military has been sent to the valley. Residents of the area are reported to be fleeing or to have fled, because the bad reputation of the army in such situations, or fearing some form of reprisal.

Picture from Nation Media Group

My thoughts:
It is apalling that a police mission can be so poorly organised that 42 officers are killed in one incident
It is extremely bad that the police left the wounded to die in the valley
It is sad that the bodies of the dead were left there until they began decomposing.
It is bad to put the bereaved relatives through the anxiety of not knowing what the status of things is.
It is regrettable that no one was fired over this tragic loss of life
It speaks volumes if the police are unable to protect even themselves. Are they able to protect ordinary citizens?

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This post may meander a little bit.

About nine days ago as my wife and I drove to Church, we saw a car in the central reservation of the Mombasa Road. The car looked dirty in an unusual manner, not just as if it had not been washed for a while or had driven through mud. Then we saw a young lady lying on the ground near the car, her body laid straight. None of the people standing there seemed to be attending to her, so presumambly she was dead. Or maybe they were waiting for an ambulance or something. We figured the dirty car must have rolled.

Picture from morguefile.com

In the past two years or so, my wife and I have come across at least three accident scenes, in which there was a person lying on the ground, along Mombasa Road. It is disturbing to see a dead person in such a context. One of those times, there were what looked like tomatoes or some similar fruit lying near the body.

A miscalculation
An error of judgement
Panicked acceleration
A stupid mistake

The brakes screech
The car veers
The woman screams
The car hits

The body falls
Limp and lifeless
The car rolls
Heavy but helpless

It ends for the victim
Just like that
No reset, no reload
No rewind, no undo.

It is over.

The father did not come home with the food
The girl did not make it to Church
The woman did not visit as planned
The families will begin to search

On Saturday, some friends of ours, my wife and I were driving home from a retreat. Our friends needed to get home quickly to attend to their baby. We encountered one of those situations on the road where there are slow vehicles using two or three of the lanes. In this case there were two trucks. We got behind one, with the other on our left. I was driving. An idiotic driver suddenly veered from the right onto our lane, bumped us and went to the leftmost lane. He could easily have pushed us into the wheels of the truck that was on our left. Looking back on the incident, I think I remained surprisingly calm. My wife did not realise that the other driver had bumped us, so after hooting furiously at him, she said we need not stop. Later, when we assessed the damage, we found that it actually was minor. It was certainly minor compared to other scenarios that could have unfolded.

Thanks be to God for preserving us.

While on the subject of road accidents, which continue to kill many people in Kenya, I put the blame almost entirely on the police force. As much as drivers are urged to drive carefully and observe rules of the road, it is the work of the police to ensure that those who break the law are arrested and charged (and hopefully subsequently punished). The lives of people should not be left to the goodwill or risk-tolerance of drivers. Drivers should be made to know that if they break the rules, they will be punished. Drivers should fear breaking the law, even if they are not afraid of risking the lives and well being of others or their own lives. Policemen do not urge thieves and robbers to avoid stealing and killing. They arrest them and seek to have them punished. The same should apply on our roads. We need not urge killers to behave (as in the first link below). The law needs to strike and strike with force.

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Last week, a friend invited us to her birthday celebration at the (Golden?) Spur Steak Restaurant at the Holiday Inn, Nairobi. On Thursdays, they have all-you-can-eat pork ribs for KShs 1,500/= (about US$18) per person. For those not familiar with Nairobi food prices, that would be the price of maybe 30 wholemeal loaves of bread. Or you could buy five meals at regular eating places. All the same, all-you-can-eat still sounded good.

So we went, ordered and the meat came. It comes with fries or potatoes or something else that I can’t remember, and salad. The meat was del.i.c.i.o.u.s! It was tender, tasty and peeled of the bone with ease. I think it was well worth the money. Now I hope to try out other places offering similar deals.

This was several servings after arrival

In other news, a follow-up to this story, I went again to Nakumatt Westgate to look for a scissor jack for the car. no luck. I walked over to Nakumatt Ukay and behold! They had scissor car jacks! I think out car weighs about a ton, and the jack for a ton costs slightly less (KShs. 1,295/=) than the one for 1.5 tons (1,595/=). I decided to play it safe and bought the bigger(?) one. I also bought a fire extinguisher and First Aid kit to have in the car as required by law. (Yes, my salary had come in 🙂 ).

Torin Scissor Jack

Now I need not fear a puncture. Speaking of punctures and related, my dad taught me how to change a car tyre when I was quite young. Maybe 8 or 10 or so, I really can’t remember. I intend to pass that on when the time is right.

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You may want to read Part 1 here.


Image courtesy of mack2happy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There were shoes outside the door. A man’s shoes. Not his. He stood the bicycle against the wall, took off his own shoes and pushed the door. It opened. He could hear sounds in the house. Suppressed laughter. Coming from the bedroom. Margaret’s voice. A male voice as well.
Frederick walked towards the bedroom in his socks. At first he tried not to make any noise then he reminded himself that this was his house. The other man was the intruder, not him.
The two voices fell silent.
“Someone’s coming,” Frederick heard the male voice say. Was that fear he detected in the voice?
Frederick pushed open the bedroom door.
Margaret was standing next to the bed towards its foot. She had partly turned to see who was at the bedroom door. Facing her, and near the head of the bed, was a tall young-looking man. He had also half turned towards the door. Frederick and Margaret’s son was asleep in his small bed at the foot of his parents’ bed.
“Hello Fred,” Margaret said. “You scared us”
“Who is this?” Frederick asked, eyes fixed on the tall stranger.
“This is my cousin Tom,” said Margaret. “I was just showing-”
“Cousin, eh?” said Frederick with a sneer. “In our bedroom?”
Margaret was silent for a moment. Perhaps surprised by Frederick’s apparent anger. Or perhaps feeling caught.
“Tom IS my cousin,” she said. “He dropped in to visit. I was showing him the design of our bed. He recently moved out of home and wants to have a bed made.”
“Get out of my bedroom,” Frederick said to the alleged cousin.
The man turned towards the door, but did not get out.
“You will wake up the baby,” said Margaret.
“Don’t tell me how to talk in my own house and you and this ‘cousin’ were laughing in here!” said Frederick, his voice louder than before.
“Don’t yell at her,” said Tom.
“Oh, you are defending her, are you?”
“Don’t yell at him. You will wake up the…”
“And YOU are defending him?”
Frederick moved towards his wife.
Tom held him by the shoulder and restrained him. The movement caused Frederick’s socks to slip on the PVC carpet. His arms waved. Tom caught him before he could fall.
“I thought I told you to get out!” Frederick said, embarrassment feeding his anger.
“Are you drunk?” Tom said.
There was silence.
Margaret moved away from the two men and towards her sleeping son’s bed.
“What did you say?” Frederick asked, standing straight and looking at the taller man directly in his eyes.
“You seemed a bit unstable.”
Frederick, a teetotaler, felt his blood boil.
He strode out of the bedroom, through the sitting room and into the kitchen. He saw a knife in the sink and took it. He went back to the bedroom.
Margaret seemed to be urging the young man to leave. The man was unwilling to go.
“He might hurt you,” the man said to her.
When they saw the knife, they both froze for a moment.
Tom lunged towards Frederick.
“No!” Margaret leaped towards Tom, trying to hold him back.

Frederick instinctively raised his arm and moved to his left, dodging Tom. He stood next to the still-sleeping child’s bed, facing his wife and the stranger in his bedroom.
“Tom, just leave” Margaret pleaded.
“I have to get that knife.”
Tom lunged again and Frederick turned his back towards him. Frederick extended his arms to keep the knife out of Tom’s reach. The two men struggled next to the child’s bed. The arm bearing the knife was pushed violently downwards. The knife plunged. Deep.
Margaret screamed.
Realisation sank quickly.
Tom now turned and ran out of the bedroom.
Frederick felt as if he would lose control of his bowels.
Margaret was kneeling next to the child’s bed. She was making strange sounds – half crying, half talking.
She threw off the covers and confirmed her fears. She took her son’s body in her arms and started sobbing. Her cries sounded animal-like. Like the moaning of a cat.
Frederick sat on the floor. He felt sick. His hands were shaking. He got up. He ran out of the bedroom. He ran out of the house. He did not know if he was running after Tom or running away from the nightmare in his house. He just ran. He ran past neighbours drawn to his house by Margaret’s cries. He ran on, even as he heard shouts that someone should catch him.

John drove towards the town. Music was coming from the lorry’s radio. It was a good thing there were many radio stations to choose from nowadays. Cocotea was singing.
Go home to your mama, your mama
Go home to your papa, your papa
You’re too young to be my lover
“Maggy,” John said to himself. “You are not too young to be my lover.”
She certainly was not too young, but she was married. John would see if he could visit her again today and try to make her comfortable being around him. Then he could work on making her actually like him.
Someone dashed onto the road. John slammed the brakes so hard that he lifted himself off his seat. It was too late. The thud-crunch sound of the impact made John’s stomach turn. He leaped out of the driver’s cabin and reached the body at the same time as a crowd that had apparently been pursuing the dead man. He looked at the body of the man. It was covered in sweat. He had no shoes and his socks looked like he had been running in them for a considerable distance.

The end.

This story is based on an actual news story. Sorry I lost the newspaper cutting.

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In my last post, I said that Kenyan’s hopes were on the World Record holder David Rudisha.Well, last night he set another world record and got Kenya another gold medal.

Many Kenyans were overjoyed!

Timothy Kitum, a 17-year-old Kenyan, got the bronze medal in the same race.

Well done to both of them.

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