What you need to know:
- When they got to the road they found the area the Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) and some cops looking for them.
- The landlord had already been rushed to hospital.
Michelle relives the events of March 17, 2017, with so much ease, despite confiding in me that this is the first time she is opening up about it, even wondering how she has managed to share this much.
We are doing this meeting on video call, you know, trying to be good citizens and obey the social distancing rule because these days we no longer trust company. Although Michelle is seated in some room with not so much lighting, I can see the red polka dot dress she is donning, African jewelry dangling from her neck and glasses with huge frames on her eyes. There’s a bit of an echo and noise in the background, but not so much to get in the way of our chat.
“Can you hear me?”
“Yes I can,” I retort.
Michelle narrates how she and her boyfriend had just started preparing supper when their gas ran out. At 8pm, it was unlikely the estate shop was open, and the nearest petrol station being not so near they found it wise to go to a hotel nearby, have dinner then think about the gas the following day.
Supper had metamorphosed into a dinner date really quick, but it was a wonderful chance to eat out in an ambient place and reminisce on their earlier days of dating when they would mostly meet at eateries.
Having been a while before they enjoyed such, Michelle was excited, like a young girl being wooed for the first time. She went into the bedroom and put on a dinner dress, applied a bit of make-up then slid into high heels. She was ready for the date. It had all the makings of a blessing in disguise, did it?
“As we were walking out of the gate, three men in masks and one with a gun accosted us,” she tells me.
As it happened, a neighbour had got in just before they walked out and must have seen the guys because in not so long the landlord came out to find out what was happening.
His mistake was poking his nose into a scene he had not surveyed well enough, that is how he ended up with a bullet in his foot.
“They took us into some forest around Kabete, beating us up as we walked. All this time, I was barefoot because I removed my shoes at some point,” mutters Michelle.
Funny how she even manages to laugh through such details when my skin was beginning to dot goosebumps. I thank God I’ve never been in a situation where someone held a firearm towards me, because I cannot begin to imagine the amount of pee I would dowse everyone around in from being petrified.
“We got to some place that had eucalyptus trees. That's where they took our ATM cards, phones, and money. One went to the ATM to withdraw our cash as the other two tied boyfriend face down then had their way with me.”
The couple was covered with branches from the trees until the third accomplice confirmed that he had withdrawn the money then they were allowed to go.
They ran out of the forest into the first compound that came into view. The occupants refused to open the door fearing for their lives, until her boyfriend begged them in vernacular.
Inside was an old couple who listened to their story then called a neighbour who had dogs to escort the two home.
“As we walked back home quietly I thought about how a few hours earlier I had dressed up for a date with my boyfriend. Turns out I was doing so for chaos.”
When they got to the road they found the area the Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) and some cops looking for them. The landlord had already been rushed to hospital.
“You should have seen the way we ran to hug the cops. Aki that was the first time I saw my boyfriend crying.”
She had not digested the extent of what had happened until the OCPD inquired whether she preferred to go the station first or to hospital.
“I shouted, NAIROBI WOMEN'S! Hehe. He took us in his car, stayed with us until I was checked, gave us 1k to buy some food then made sure his officers took us home.”
It is the calmness with which Michelle shares this ordeal that has me confused. Not often does one come across a lady who went through such a deal and has managed to put it behind her and taken such a positive outlook on life. Michelle’s boyfriend struggled with therapy during the first few months to a point of not caring for himself. He became an introvert until recently when he has started opening up about it. The silver lining is that the couple is still together, and they welcomed their first baby in 2018.
“Nowadays I help people get through their own trauma. The irony, right?”