The Tea Shall Set You Free
Driving from Mombasa to Nairobi the other day, I couldn't help but enjoy the nice stretch of tarmac from Bachuma Gate to Sultan Hamud. The car was in great condition and so was the road. The Japs put a 180kph mark on my speedometer and I decided to test if they didn't mean 200kph.
The baobab trees lining the highway all of a sudden started moving past me faster than before, and the 26-wheeler trailers seemed more like pick ups when I overtook. Then, rising from the black tarmac was a hand, into which grew a body with a luminous green windbreaker, topped by a cap bearing an 'utumishi kwa wote' badge. That hand was sticking out so high it almost touched mabuyus dangling across the road.
I reluctantly hit the brakes and brought the car to a screeching 0kph, rolled down the window to see the body wore very mean face. This cop had either inhaled tons of carbon dioxide or had lost a lot of money betting on France.
COP: Kijana, habari yako?
MWA: Mzuri officer. Labda yako.
COP: Usijali. Leta driver's license.
I removed it from the official Kenyan DL storage point: the driver's sun visor pocket.
COP: Unajua una makosa gani?
COP: Tuko na speed limit ya 100 on this highway, and you were going at 140.
MWA: (Scratching my head) Sio 160?
I don't think he heard me.
COP: Sasa, utalipa cash bail ya 3,000, halafu kesho ukuje kortini Voi. I am charging you with over speeding.
MWA: Officer, naenda Nairobi kazi. Siwezi kuja Voi kesho.
He then walked round the car - don't know why - and came back to my window.
COP: Basi nunua soda nikuachilie.
MWA: Utakunywa soda na baridi hii?
COP: Sawa, leta chai.
I promptly reached for the back seat and pulled out a pack of Ketepa I was hoping to consume the following morning, and handed it to him. He looked at the pack of tealeaves like it was the first time he'd seen tea not on a farm or cup. He then shifted his gaze to me, back to the pack of tealeaves, gave me back my DL, put his hand down (yes, it'd been raised all this time) and flagged me off.
I left the cop in a cloud of dust as I continued testing my speedometer.
Acting dumb and a pack of tea leaves will get you past any cop.