While living outside of Kakamega, Kenya, it seemed more difficult for E to adjust then for myself. New things don’t scare me much, and I’m always up for talking to new people and having new experiences. But for E, what we didn’t understand at the time (about 2013-2014) was that his schizophrenic tendencies were becoming more common during that time frame. Day to day life was becoming more overwhelming for him, and by extension for the kids and I.
One day I offered to take the trip into town to get the few things we needed as far as supplies, so that E could just work on the farm. Normally E went to town just because when I went it was a little more dangerous as a white woman traveling alone and E enjoyed the possibility of seeing some old friends from his childhood. Recently however, even having neighbours over to our house seemed too stressful for him.
So I strapped our youngest in a sling in preparation for the walk and headed out the door. Normally I would only have to walk between 10-20 minutes before I would be able to wave a piki piki down on the road and then enjoy the 15 minute ride into town. But today there seemed to be none on the road, or they all already had passengers on them.
So I just kept walking. Until after about 45 minutes I hear E calling my name. I turn around and he is running after me. I waited for him, since I really had no idea why he was there, or what prompted him to run the last few K’s. But when he finally caught up to me, it was nothing I expected… Which funny enough is something I’ve come to expect with E. That I could never expect anything from him.
Anyways, as soon as he got to me, he roughly grabbed into my bra for my wallet. Yeah I kept my money in my bra for safe keeping, something E had told me to do to keep it away from thieves. Little did I know the only person who would attempt to steal anything from me the entire time I was in Kenya would be my husband.
I can’t even remember what he was saying or why he was doing it. I just remember that I was holding a baby and he was pushing me around and grabbing my things in the middle of the road. I honestly wasn’t sure what his intent was, or why it bothered him that I was headed to town, but he was trying to take my money, and I remember that I was having none of it. Or at least I tried. I did my best to hold onto it and at the same time protect/hold on to our daughter. I wouldn’t say a crowd gathered, but a few people started peering at us through the bushes/fences, and I tried calling for help. I called out that he was a thief or a robber. I can’t remember which. But no one did anything. E got my wallet and ran off for home.
And in my embarrassment, I picked up the few things that had fallen out and I remember for some reason I was more upset that no one had helped me, then the fact E had just done that to me.
With no money, I had no choice but to return the direction I had just come. Walking past all the yards with people pretending nothing had happened. I took about an hour to walk back to our house, and even then I didn’t go home. I went to a neighbours.
I stayed for tea and a standard “how are you” chat, before E showed up. He said he had been looking for me…
I told him I wasn’t interested in going home right then. He apologized there in our neighbours house, and I explained to her what had happened. My neighbour said I should go with him. He’d apologized and that it would be good now.
I knew then, that if anything more serious happened to me, E would have the support of the community. It was how they lived. It was what they were used to. It for some reason was ok for them.
Not for me.
At that point I knew I was alone.