Sunday, December 31, 2006
On the way back from one of my visits to the landlord’s office, my matatu was stopped by the police. Something about having too many people on board. A child was sitting on someone’s lap, so there were 16 of us in the van instead of the requisite 15. After we were pulled over, a police officer confiscated the van keys. Meanwhile the driver and conductor argued vehemently and tried to convince the police to leave us alone. After a few minutes another officer hopped in the front seat of the van, returned the keys, and instructed the driver to start moving. He pointed out directions for the van to travel and several of us thought he was taking us all to the police station (which apparently is not uncommon in Kenya). At this point, two passengers in the front seat began collecting bribe money. One man refused to pay and pleaded with the officer to let him go because he had important business and was in a hurry. After ten minutes of arguing, the matatu driver handed the officer a wad of bills. The officer smiled, got out of the van, and told us to continue on our journey.