“Odi! Dance imeshika mashinani, ooodi!” was blasting through my headphones. The thing about music in your headphones is that you feel like you are in a music video. If it wasn’t for my lack of courage in public, I would have had a “Twende Brayo” moment. It was a blast syncing the music to my footsteps. With every thud of bass, came another footstep.
I was idle in town and figured, “Let me take a walk in town as I check out some clothes and phones in downtown stalls.” Nairobi is beautiful on a sunny day, all the nduthis, the commotion, the hustlers, street preachers, hawkers and mayai boiro guys… what is there not to love about this city. Since I figured out that I may get a good deal, I chose to visit an ATM and withdrew some cash for shopping. “Thao tano si mbaya” I said to myself. Besides, I needed a new pair of jeans and a few shirts.
Those are the last words I remember saying. I just remember having an arm around my neck and I couldn’t breathe. It was all so fast and confusing. Unexpected. Trying to free myself from the huge guy strangling me, my hands were preoccupied with him. I could feel hands in my pockets but there was nothing I could do about it. Even worse, my fellow pedestrians just walked by as if nothing had happened. In a flash of a secong, I was on the ground confused and disoriented. All I could hear was the quick footsteps that scattered in to different directions.
“Kijana uko sawa?” said a stranger as I held my head trying to make sense of what had just happened. As soon as reality started to sink in, I was digging in to my pockets desperately hoping to feel my phone and wallet.
“Wameniibia” I replied.
“Hivyo ndio wanakuwanga, hapa ni kukaa radha” He said. In a matter of seconds, I had nothing. They even managed to yank my headphones off my head. “Shit…. What will I do now?” I said to myself. Going to the police wasn’t an option as I knew that they would just take me around in circles as they asked me irrelevant questions like “Ulikuwa unaskia odi dance kwanini?”
These guys had just set me back a couple of thousands and I had no way of getting home. In addition to that, I had ;ost some vital documents, including my ID card. The thought of going to the bank and huduma centre haunted me.
My immediate need was getting home. “sasa nitafika home aje?” I asked the stranger.
“Hata mimi sijui”
That moment, I realized that I was poorer than the streetboys. In fact, I contemplated beginning my begging career.
I got up, diusted myself off and started my desperate walk to nowhere, looking around as I hoped to catch a glance at the guys who looked like a robber.
That’s the day when my paranoia of walking around the streets of Nairobi began…