As narrated in the voice of Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption)
It was a cold chilly morning…Every Kenyan student- 2000 and something to date.
This quote is the reason this July is extra cold. The chickens of our collective manifestations have come home to roost.
Now to the Kamiti story.
I did my time. And yes, I did it. Not out of passion but out of omission. For this, I’m sorry to readers. A crime of passion would have made for a raw twisty tale. On the contrary, my omission is as straight as that thing fundis use to check walls. Timazi.
The records at Kamiti Maximum Prison will bear no trace of my incarceration . However, I am the horse and my mouth says it happened.
A series of straightforward events led me to prison. I woke up on a morning that was neither cold nor chilly. Whether I paid tribute to the frog’s kingdom is irrelevant.
Someone said a prayer and off we went. A vivid description of the scenery is unavailable in your current location. You see, I was in the company of this amazing writer / farmer from Kericho. Therefore, listening to her was a greater pleasure than noting the sights .
Kamiti Maximum Prison has a classy gate. Classier than the Gates I reckon(haha, come gate me!). The wood is a beautiful light brown; you just want to knock on it tenderly and whisper your best knock knock joke. Suffice to say I have a thing for wood. And you should sanitise your mind.
By now are aware that I was more of a visitor than a prisoner. Still, I was an inmate at some point.
Security checks in and out of Kamiti are thorough. Luckily, visitors get spared the indignity of a cavity search. Photos of all male guest are taken and confirmed on the way out (garbage in garbage out). Facial recognition without the fancy software.
In my eagerness to see what lay beyond the magnificent wooden gates, I didn’t get my photo taken. Big deal? No. Mega deal? That just about begins to describe the shit I was in.
For a member of the disciplined forces, protocol supercedes everything.
You laughed with us? Yes.
You are in civilian clothes? Yes.
Everyone in your group recognises you? Yes.
But still, where is your photo?
That is how I stayed back to have my details verified. My beloved gate was shut and I was left surrounded by very serious faces in a darkish driveway. I had to recite my phone number and ID card number severally, all the while as ‘manual facial recognition’ compared my ID card photo to me. On the strength of that alone, I could have been imprisoned because even I do not know the person in that photo.
My heart was beating like a drummer in a trance. Any longer and I’d have collapsed. I kept on thinking ; what if my doppelganger within the prison orchestrated a break out? Would I appear weeping on Case Files much later? Now jail isn’t a pretty place and some say I’m too pretty for it.
Finally, the officers were convinced it was but a simple omission. I was free to go. My beautiful light brown wooden gate opened. I felt like I was being let into heaven.
The warmth of the sun hitting my face helped cool down my shaken nerves. I felt like Nelson Mandela walking out of Robben Island. My fist shot into the air; for the culture.
In my case there was no Winnie. Neither was a euphoric crowd present to witness history. Just a couple of comrades wondering why their departure had been delayed.