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February 23, 2019

Samantha's Chronicles: Normal life back


Something keeps bothering me. I recall a scene in Game of Thrones when a hostage, Theon Greyjoy, was “allowed” to escape by his captor, a psychotic named Ramsey. He posed as a servant helping him escape, only to lead him back to the same place he had been held captive. It all ultimately led to breaking Theon. The torture of not only the body but the mind as well. If someone can break your mind, they don’t need to put you in chains. Survival mode kicks in and slowly, I start to believe I can get out of this place. I start running.  I’m out of the compound, it’s broad daylight and I know my way to the town. What could go wrong? My captors can’t go around grabbing people off the streets, surely, I’m going to be ok. I run faster. Down the familiar road, I run like the devil himself is after me.

I get to the town quickly enough and head straight to a taxi stand. I’m not going to stick around here waiting for someone to pick me up. Not after the previous disaster with Mr N. I’m not even interested in going to the police station now. I just want to get home. I negotiate a price with the cab driver and I climb into the back. I’ll pay him when I get to the house. I don’t have a cent on me. He manoeuvres through traffic and starts lamenting about the upcoming election.

“There’s no money in the economy! We need to vote and get back to our normal lives,” he says.

Normal. What an interesting concept. To him, ‘normal’ will be determined by a vote. For me, normal means getting back to my life after surviving the worst ordeal a woman can go through. I drown out his voice as he goes on and on about how bad this guy or another is. He is particularly irate about billboards depicting a particular leader as God.

“Tuko pamoja!” he says rather loudly. I give him a weak smile. Another thing about taxi drivers is that they all assume you’re voting for the same person that they are. I was in a taxi with a NASA man a few weeks back who thought we should all be marching holding pikes. How silly. Why assume a customer who is giving you a rating for an Uber ride cares about your political affiliations? The truth is, voting is the last thing on my mind. I just want to get home. It takes him about an hour to manoeuvre through the busy afternoon traffic. I feel relief when I finally see my gate. I was very close to screaming at him to give me some peace and quiet.

“Give me a minute to get your money,” I tell him. I go inside. I have no keys and need to knock on my landlord’s door for a spare. The pastor’s wife opens the door and gives me a disapproving look at the state of my clothes.

“I was in an accident,” I tell her. “I lost my bag. Could you please lend me some money to pay the taxi guy?”

She goes into the house and rummages through a couple of handbags. It’s finally enough. She hands it over with the spare key to my SQ, saying she hopes I’m fine. I go back outside and pay the taxi guy. I give him a tip. With both hands clasped in the Tano Tena sign as a farewell gesture, he drives off, muttering slogans under his breath. Have you noticed how all the people who know how to run a country are busy either driving taxis or cutting hair?

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