My third month living in Kenya
by Dr Suzy Kruhse-Mountburton
Well it has finally happened. I was robbed in Nairobi just crossing the street. Rush hour is such a buzz here. Well dressed workers, all black and shiny with flashing eyes and perfect white teeth, women in high heels, hair braded elaborately, men in tailored business suits.
I, of course look daggy, in my plastic sandals, second hand pants with a Darwin dress making a long top, with a batik sarong from Bali draped over so I look like a Maasai with my collection of bead bangles, but it is really just to disguise the bum bag with my camera and to keep off the sun.
I am on my own here now. Makau is back in the field with his research team and I strolling happily, just enjoying being here in this amazing vibe and admiring the African glits. Too slinky bright coloured dresses with false jewelery attached, those totally over the top and slutty shoes and the bling to hang from ears and to spice up the hair.
Piles of second hand novels piled on the sidewalk, spunky jumpers for ladies for only two hundred bob (200 kenyan shillings, just $2). Newspapers, oranges, passionfruit and beautiful dark purple grapes.
I am just about to pick my way through the traffic to cross over to Tuskys (the biggest department store chain here in Kenya), trying to go with the flow of the crowd, when I feel someone sort of massaging my ear lobes. So nice and gentle that I think it must be a friend.
But no, it is someone with big awkward fingers undoing the small gold ear rings, the only jewelery given to me by Pascal, the father of my daughter, more than 20 years back and worn every day since.
I spin around to stare into the eyes of a tall, poor man, a bit tattered and dusty. ?No No Madam?, he pleads knowing his clumsy efforts to rob me have had him caught. I am in shock to know it is true, and scream and wrestle with him, feeling one ear ring taken and the other goes flying.
I scoop to pick it off the road, while he tries to escape the gory end he knows awaits him. The crowd engulf him and he is savagely kicked to the ground while the well dressed ladies dust me off and ask ?Are you alright Madam? I saw him take it. He must have gone with the ring in his hand. You must take care here.
I am shaken but horrified, that the spruced up and civilized crowd could kill a man for so little, and without the slightest mercy shown. He deserved it. Had it coming. Cruel, unflinching justice is swift here in Nairobi.