The fine line between courtesy and dumb

Attempt to cover his tracks lands village thief in trouble

In Summary

• Thief commits the perfect crime but blames bhang for botched getaway


Unbelievable as this might sound, it’s been two hundred weeks of this third-rate report from a small hamlet near Kericho called Jiji Ndogo.

If you’ve been with us for the whole or only part of the journey, I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to spend a few minutes every week with us.

In case you’re new, here are some important notes about Jiji Ndogo.

If you’re still waiting, there is really nothing important about our village, but my editor says I can’t leave a blank space. So I’ll try and say something.

We are not aware of Jiji Ndogo’s exact population. The last census guy’s car broke down on the way over. We have no tarmac road, you see, and when it rains, blackjack sprouts right in the middle of our thoroughfare.

The census fella was met by a welcoming committee comprising Long Tooth (our resident hyena) and his pals, who made sure no other bloke comes to count us.

The source of authority is the Jiji Ndogo Police Post, a ramshackle shack on the edge of the village. The police transport is a bike that needs wheels, shared between three officers at the post. That’s me, Sgt Makini, as well as Sgt Sophia (who also happens to be my common-law wife) and Inspector Tembo (who also happens to be Sophia’s dad).

Don’t tell the Inspector General, but the people truly working here are Sgt Sophia and I. Inspector Tembo is all but retired (unofficially) and spends most of his time with his ex-flame, Sophia’s mother. You could say we keep it in the family here.

At Jiji Ndogo, if you don’t feel like cooking and yearn for a fancy meal, you’re welcome at Kula Ulipe, where the matron, Fatma Nono, offers a delicious dish from the menu chalked on the wall, whose contents change depending on what was left over the night before.

I’ve learnt to appreciate ugali lala, though on the menu, it appears as ugali ala cat. The correct expression is à la carte, but don’t correct Fatma. She works with knives.

The shop of note here is Mla Chake. The owner is one Dr Selitol, and he’ll promise to sell you anything (an entire elephant herd, if you so desire), just give him enough time.

He’s our resident Indian and no one really knows his real name, or whether he’s truly an Indian from a city called Titwala in Maharashtra. Like really?

But who am I to contradict him? I had to look up Penistone, England, to believe it exists. Ever heard of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, USA? How about Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Oh, the things you learn from a simple search.

But I digress. I’m on my way to Mla Chake as we speak, Dr Selitol having called me on the urgent matter of a thief on his property. When I arrive at the shop, I find Stevo (I happen to know the little rascal) tied up like a goat ready for slaughter.

“Good evening, Mr Selitol,” I salute. “What’s going on?”

“Mimi iko singizi, hena?” he says. “Usiku, mimi iko skia kelele, ku, ku, ku, hapa nje. Mimi toka mara moja, naona hii jamaa iko hapa najenga ukuta yangu.”

As it turns out, Stevo broke through a fence, entered Mla Chake shop and stole a bunch of tools. As he was walking out, he saw the hole he had made in the fence. Deciding not to leave any evidence behind, he set about repairing the hole, thus waking the owner.

“Why, Stevo?” I ask him.

“Bangi si mboga, Mkubwa.”

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