Mathare and logistic arrangements
Trip Start May 03, 2011
148Trip End Jan 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
After Sven and Roel left I had some days in Nairobi to sort out several things. I needed a new jacket and a cover for my eReader which I arranged both at the second hand market in Nairobi. The cover for the eReader was a bit of a challenge and some local tailor girl managed a nice cheetah print cover, see picture
In these few days I couchsurfed at some guys in Nairobi Eastlands. First at Brian and later at Leoh's place because he had more space. All in all quite some activities and then I forget the most impressive and my most negative experience in Africa on which I wrote a blog. Read it here!
My encounter with the conmen of Nairobi
Just an ordinary Saturday afternoon in Nairobi. I had to go to town to get and arrange some things when an approximately 50 year old Kenyan man greeted me with "welcome to Kenya, how do you like it here?". Always willing to chat we got into a conversation and it appeared that he knew a lot of Dutch words and apparently he knew Belgian professor
It appeared that this man was not a Kenyan but a Zimbabwean and had his own story. Apparently there was something going on in Zimbabwe and he and his family were suspects so in danger. Because of this they left the country to Zambia. Since it was also not safe there they moved further up via Tanzania to Kenya. Now he is planning to travel to Rwanda and from there his friend, the Belgian professor, can arrange a ticket to Europe. In the end he just needed money for the bus to Rwanda. I thought it was a pretty good story and wanted to test him with some information on Zimbabwe since I've been there too. He passed the test but eventually I had little desire to give money again to someone with a strong always hear. Yet he cracked something in me and I gave him (converted) 4 euros. He had to go quickly because he had more money to arrange with his story so I wished him the best of luck. When I almost finished my coke and was ready to walk out suddenly two elderly gentlemen joined me at the table with the following incredible story.
We are the police, the secret service that investigates terrorist actions in this country (identification was briefly shown), this man who just walks away is a terrorist and we had him and his accomplices arrested this morning but he escaped again ...
The story was that the man I've been drinking a soda with is a terrorist who is illegally in Kenya and had fake dollars, euros and Kenyan shillings. Because I had given him I could also have fake money and can be brought into connection with this criminal. They asked me how much I had with me, 4,000 shillings (= 40 euro) but no other currency. I showed my passport and my money and the plan was to check the money but I could not come along because then the acclaimed terrorist could identify me as his associate. So these undercover policemen have to go check my money and then come back 20 minutes later and it was all arranged. NO way…I thought. For some time I acted a bit difficult that I did not agree and suggested we just go together and take that risk
Just for clarification, it is theoretically possible that these gentlemen were policemen and in Africa it is still true that if they want to harm you they can so it is better to be careful in these situations. I exchanged some money at the cash register in the cafeteria to give those men and they were already outside. When I wanted to give them the money outside they were suddenly gone. A few seconds thinking resulted in the decision to just walk further and I did not hear or see anything again from these gentlemen.
Pfuuuw .... even though I remained cool and relaxed my heart rate increased quite a bit afterwards . I told the whole story to a Kenyan friend and he laughed but admitted that I did well in this situation. These men are the so-called "conmen" of Nairobi and perform a whole show on people (whites) to rob their money.
In my 18 months in Africa I have already seen a lot of beggars, touts, flycatchers and other idiots who want something but this was unbelievable. In conclusion, my most negative experience in Africa so far but the consequence is an exciting story for the OneWorld readers and my grandchildren :)