Ryan, Brian and the Kenyan Police

So my good friend Brian found himself in a pickle as a policeman stopped him (in the middle of a round-a-bout road to “arrest” him for talking on the phone while driving – which is an offense in Kenya). Since I was the individual with whom he was talking, I felt a bit responsible and drove over to help in some way. (And by arrest, I actually mean that the policeman told him to park his car (in the middle of the road), took his drivers license and proceeded to wait for a vehicle to ride back to the police station).

So I parked next to Brian (in the middle of the round-a-bout) and called the officer over for a little chat. He was quite friendly. We talked about the various ‘offenses’ for which one is ‘arrested’ for in Kenya and he assured me that this was serious enough to go through with it. I told him my friend was lost and that he might have ended up in Mombasa if he hadn’t called – and the policeman assured me that it would have been better for him to be in Mombasa than to talk on the phone – of which I firmly disagreed.

He said that we should go back to the station and pay a ‘bail’ and then to appear in court the next day. Seeing we had no other option – we agreed. But of course, since the policeman is on foot, he asked if I would give him a ride back to the station – as he didn’t want to walk the distance (which is fully understandable).

I said okay – and he got in the back of my (Justine’s) car.

I chuckled (to myself) over the oddity of driving a policeman in my backseat (who looked as if I had just arrested him) back to the station to have my friend (who is following us in his car) get ‘bailed’ out of the proverbial jail.

During the drive – my prisoner-cop and I had some good conversations in a mish-mash of Swahili and English. We talked about his ‘upcountry’ (home town) a bit, which happened to be near to mine in Kitale. He told me he knew of the children’s home that my parents had started when I asked. He said it was a good work. I agreed.

He proceeded to tell me that he had been stationed all over the country, and then about his wife who is a nurse and his children in school and then he asked why my friend and I were in Nairobi – and I told him.

Coming to the station – with odd looks coming in our direction from the other officers – he and Brian and I got out of the cars and started talking about the Bible in Brian’s hand and then about his Catholic church.

More interestingly, up walked another officer who recognized Brian from a previous run-in with the same police (another exciting episode to be certain) when Brian and I were running and we (with equal ignorance) got separated from each other and Brian continued running for an impressive distance until making it to that very same police station. The cop who just walked up was the cop who had let Brian borrow his phone to call his parents in the states.

Without going on much longer, we talked for a while about violence and politics and the ‘land of opportunity’ and then with a gospel-like-proclamation, he said, ‘you are free to go!”

And that’s the gospel truth.

Published by Ryan Hayes

Ryan Hayes is a development practitioner, teacher and co-author of his first book of poems, Paralipomenon. Being born in Nairobi, Kenya and living most of his life in Africa, he has a wealth of experience and understanding into the cultural and linguistic factors of South-East Africa. Ryan is happily married to Justine with whom they have begotten three beautiful girls – Amelie, Lily and Rylee. He is a lifelong learner and devoted student of Jesus, mysticism, quantum physics and the human psyche.

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