Recent comms with fellow blogger thegoodwoman.blogspot.com (who is about to relocate to Kenya) have prompted me to remember a story that was related to me in Nairobi by a taxi driver; I was in his cab en route to the dentist or gynae or the shoe shop (I forget; I visit the metropolis for myriad reasons – some fun – shoes and good food – others pretty foul: dentist and gynae.)Having heard dozens of stories about car jacking in the capital and indeed the country at large, I asked the cab driver, who was called Jacob, whether the tales I’d heard were true or exaggerated: was car jacking really that bad?
Oh yes, said Jacob, in some areas.
Why, I wanted to know, ‘because there aren’t enough jobs’, he told me, ‘and there are too many young people; if they can’t find work, they steal’.
So how do they operate I pressed? Hold up a car, drive across the border into Tanzania (as happened to the vehicle of acquaintances) and flog it?
Sometimes, he said, yes. But not always.
Sometimes they hold up your car, stick you in the boot (having relieved you of cell phone and wallet) and proceed to use your vehicle as a means to get around town to several different locations quickly where they can hold up more cars, clean the drivers out and move on to the next profitable venue before the cops catch them.
Good grief, I said.
Yes, said Jacob, mournfully, ‘you can spend alot of hours in the darkness of your car boot before they decide they no longer need the services of your vehicle and abandon it’ (with you still in the boot I presume?).
It’s why I put a pillow in mine, he continued.
‘What?’ I said, bemused, ‘a pillow?’
Yes, said Jacob, ‘then when I am car jacked, at least I will be comfortable’.
So goodwoman, my advice on car jacking would be several fold: buy a really, really old car (one that won’t fetch much at auction and looks decrepit enough not to get you – or more importantly – car jackers around town with much speed); buy a car without a boot – a station wagon (that way if you get put in the boot, at least you can see out, wave at people you know in the traffic and perhaps alert somebody to your predicament) and finally – stick a pillow in there.
Just in case.