Date: October 16, 2013: I decide to walk down to meet a friend and, maybe, do a write up about her dev school. It has been done before – it’s a famous school. I decide to do it again anyway. On my way there, a man jumps off the back of a bodaboda, pistol in hand. He robs the people walking down the side of the street. I get away, only because my feet think faster than my brain.
It is 11.40 am.
Date: October 26, 2013: Slightly inebriated I call a taxi to take me home. As I wait with friends I realize that two of them are stranded – I offer my cab and decide to walk. Making my way down the road, two men walk up to me and calmly ask for my bag. They have a gun – I give them my bag. And my wallet. And my phone. And my earphones. And everything else I have on my person. I keep my ID – they can’t take my identity (it’s too abstract).
It’s 12.15 am.
Date: October 29, 2013: A friend emails me – headline “Nyumba Kumi.” As people made their way to work gunmen sauntered into the apartment below hers and cleaned it out. The neighbours say it must be the luos upstairs – they are new, and have odd tendencies; such as staying in the house.
Stop. Take it back.
Date: October 25, 2013: CS Ole Lenku says that the “Nyumba kumi” initiative will be a corner stone in keeping our society safe. Community policing, he says, is the only way we can make sure that no one near anyone is a terrorist – he quotes the constitution. I wonder about terrorists that live within a 10-house radius of each other. I also wonder whether he has read the rest of the constitution – or whether some intern found the bit he was looking for 10 seconds before the speech.
No, further back.
Date: September 24, 2013: I use Sara Ahmed to help me think about the attack on westgate mall. She has this to say:
Strangers are not simply those who are not known in this dwelling, but those who are, in their very proximity, already recognized as not belonging, as being out of place.
I worry for the Somali population in Kenya. I worry for the families of the victims of this attack. I worry for what will happen following this attack. I worry that, somehow, this is a symptom of something.
I try to hope, but I can’t.
Date: July 12, 2013: Even as scandal upon scandal is being revealed in the country I fear about what is not being said. I watch as the victims of the post election violence are swept under the rug. The AU is going to meet soon to start to talk about the stand Kenya should take with the ICC. It is already known that they are a ‘puppet of the west’ Mugabe and Al Bashir side squarely with our president.
Great minds think alike.
Date: June 26, 2013: Liz, a 16 year old girl, is gang-raped in Busia and thrown in a pit latrine to die. She refuses to follow instructions. Her rapists are apprehended and severely punished – they must cut grass for an afternoon. The story will not hit the media till three months later when a reporter from the Nation covers it. Liz will garner over a million signatures online and create immense pressure for justice.
Liz has fistula.
Stay safe, a blogpost on one of my favourite blogs, stays with me. I constantly read it – like a bible of sorts. A part of it reads:
…to be disposable means we can never be casual about our ongoing vulnerability. We can never be casual about our disposability. About the ease with which a killing world hunts for killable bodies and relishes the killing.
To open oneself to the idea that one is vulnerable is scary. To be, fully, aware of how disposable we are is to walk with our hands tied behind our back. I decide to read Saul Williams. Maybe he will help me hide. Bob Marley sings in the background, “how long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and watch,” the fridge hums in agreement.