I booked flights for about 10 days out. They were the right combination of cheapest and nearest in date. Well they weren’t cheap, but I just wanted out of there ASAP. Then, after I booked the flights and paid, I sent an email to my mom letting her know our itinerary and just an update on what was going on. I didn’t let anyone else know what was going on because I already felt I was being watched like a hawk with my in-laws visiting all the time, probably reporting back to E. So I went about life as normal.
Until, I got a call from E. He had been monitoring my email and had seen the email to my Mom. In reality, there was not much he himself could do about me leaving since he was back in Canada now, but that didn’t mean he made it enjoyable for me. He hacked my Facebook and made a single post saying “I’m divorcing E” My friends and family started reaching out to me before I had a chance to delete it. I’m never on FB so they all thought it was a little out of the ordinary and wanted to make sure things were OK. Although the statement wasn’t a lie, it wasn’t how I wanted word to get out, for obvious reasons. So after changing all my passwords, I braced myself for what was to come next.
Visits from my in-laws increased ten-fold. In fact my mother in-law took it upon herself to just come and stay ALL day. No matter how many times I asked her to leave my house.
Calls from E were constant. To myself, to my farm boy, even to the neighbours. It became so overwhelming. To everyone.
I decided to switch my flights. At this point I didn’t care how much money it cost to re-book them, but I had to get us out of there. I paid the $2000+ to change my current booking from a week out, to 2 days away. Then I started the packing. At this point everyone knew what was going on, so keeping it on the down low was moot. I gave away most of the kids things to the neighbouring children. I had very little to pack since anything of mine that hadn’t fit in the 3 suitcases E had had the farm boy pack the fateful Sunday, E had taken upon himself to throw down the outhouse leaving me with very little.
I gave away our chickens to the farm boy and sent him on his way, thanking him for everything he’d done for me. We spent time with our neighbours, visiting and them crying.
Everyone was constantly telling me it wasn’t a big deal and I should forgive him. Which further cemented my belief that I HAD to get out. Now.
M had offered to help drive us to the airport which was in the town over after we would pick little E up from school at lunch. I had told her she could have our mattress which I had brought from Canada a few months ago. I felt it was the least I could do for them and everything they had done for us.
The morning of the flights arrived, and lo and behold so did my mother-in-law. Whatever. What’s she gonna do? M arrived with her husband and 1 son to help with the luggage. They backed the van up to our back door and that’s when the most stressful day of my life started.
My M-I-L seriously thought she could singlehandedly stop us from leaving. She stood in the doorway and would refuse to move for anyone trying to get in or out with a suitcase. Everyone was super polite with her… “Excuse me, could you move please, I have to get out please,” then trying to squeeze past. Which wasn’t simple because my M-I-L isn’t a tiny lady. Then when she realized that her just standing in the way wasn’t working, she started grabbing the luggage out of the van. So M had to guard the van, while her husband and son brought the things out. But my M-I-L was still not impressed by that. She started grabbing things straight from M’s hands, which M was not having. My M-I-L even went so far as to push M away from some of my things, and then claim that M had beaten her!
I know, that in this moment I was not this most helpful person, but I honestly think I shut down. I couldn’t believe she was behaving like this. She started screaming and yelling and acting like we were the worst human beings in the world.
Then I saw my M-I-L walk towards the gate, so I rushed out the front door to get there first. I didn’t want her to close the gate and then sit in front of it or something ridiculous so that we couldn’t drive the van out. So I sat on the ground calmly with Z on my lap and watched her come towards me.
You could see the look in her eyes she was pissed. She knew that she was helpless in stopping me from leaving. She walked up to me and started on a huge rant. So I simply told her to fuck off. Which I’ll always remember led to her saying “yeah fuck me. fuck me in the vagina” Then she grabbed her phone and called my father-in-law. She spoke in Swahili but I could tell she wasn’t happy. I also knew that what she was telling him was probably a lie. Seemed to run in the family.
M & D pulled up the van and then I got in with Z and we headed down the road. We got about 5 minutes down the road on our way into town to get little E, when I see my F-I-L coming towards us on a piki piki.
The piki piki pulls over and I see him pull a stone the size of Z’s head out of his bag. Which means at some point on his way to my house, he stopped on the side of the road and chose a rock specifically for this purpose. He stops in front of the van so D couldn’t drive. And then smashed the front of the window with the rock. M was yelling at D to drive but my F-I-L was standing right in front and D didn’t want to run him over. My F-I-L grabbed the rock again and slammed the window again. By now, M is frantic, and D starts slowly moving the van trying to get away.
I’m starting to panic. I have no idea what my in-laws are trying to achieve with all this, or what they are capable of. But D slowly starts to drive and my F-I-L moves out of the way. D speeds up and M is yelling at him to just drive! D can barely see out the window because it’s been smashed to bits by the rock, so he’s trying his best. But all of a sudden we see the piki piki pull up on my side of the van again with my F-I-L on the back. He hurls the rock again and it smashes through the front passenger side window shattering broken glass everywhere. M is covered in glass and yelling at D to drive faster. He’s doing his best to see through the broken window and navigate down the very rough dirt road that’s filled with pot holes. I was brushing glass off myself and Z, and all I could think about was little E.
At this point, I had no idea how far my in-laws would go to try and get me to stay. I was honestly worried that they would kidnap little E from school as like a hostage type thing. D drove off the main road to a friends house where they arranged to borrow a different vehicle for the remainder of the drive. I was the most frantic I’ve been. I just wanted to get my son and get the fuck out of the country.
I called little E’s school and told them not to let little E outside at all. I asked them to please pack all his things and have him waiting in the classroom. I told the teachers to not let ANYONE else, under any circumstance, pick him up except his mzungu mother. Not his grandfather, not his grandmother, no aunts, uncles. Nothing.
The new car arrived with a clear windshield and we switched the luggage. The car was smaller and so just M, and her son and I went in the new vehicle with Z. D stayed behind to deal with his smashed van. We got back on the road again when two minutes later, who pulls out in front of us? My F-I-L. M’s son was driving so the rest of us ducked down so my F-I-L wouldn’t see us. We figured he wouldn’t notice the new car but we didn’t want to take any chances. And at this point I didn’t know what he was thinking or what he had spent the last 30 minutes doing/getting.
We sped as fast as we could into town but it still felt like too long. I called little E’s school twice more to make sure he was safe. We pulled up and I felt like it was a grab and go. I was on the phone with his teacher telling him when we would be pulling up and to get little E. The guard opened the gate and ushered little E out and we pealed out like no tomorrow.
Next, we had to make a stop at the police station to report what had happened to M’s van. I, myself just wanted to get out of town, but I realized this was M’s life and she wasn’t leaving the country. They still had to come back to this mess at the end of the day, so it should be dealt with properly. M filed her police report with a little input from me, and after about an hour we were back on the road.
The first airport was about 2 hours away and it was a stressful ride. So many crazy scenarios ran through my mind. Every ridiculous thing that could happen I though would happen. I thought maybe my F-I-L might be at the airport when we got there. I thought he might make up all these absurd accusations that would affect me leaving the country for some reason. I’m pretty sure M could sense my paranoia. Her and her son offered to stay with me at the airport until I absolutely had to board the plane. But I was still so stressed out. I thought at any moment I would see the face of any one of my in-laws pop up from around a corner with who knows what to do any number of things. My mind was exploding with possibilities.
It was finally time for my flight to Nairobi. I can’t even remember if I hugged M goodbye. I know I was so thankful for her and her family for everything they had done. I told her I would pay for the damage to her van. I knew as missionaries, they didn’t have extra cash to be throwing at things like that, and it was definitely not her fault. We would be keeping in touch for sure.
Once on the flight I had about an hour of peace. The kids were relatively good. I had told little E we were going to see Nanna and Nonno (my parents) so he was excited, and Z was only 6 months old so not much trouble there. Once in Nairobi though, I was paranoid again. I had more in-laws there, and I legitimately thought that one of them would show up at the airport. I also last minute realized that my 3 month visa had passed the expiry date, and I might have trouble with exit customs. Originally we were working on duel citizenship so I would have been fine, but now…. I grabbed a pen and altered my entry dates on my visa. I couldn’t handle any more issues, and I just wanted to get out of the country. I was desperate.
I made it through customs by the help of my cute kids and talking about my Kenyan husband. No shame, because at this point I would do anything to get out. I finally relaxed a little once I was in the boarding area. It was the first time I think I took a full breathe all day. We made it to London without much trouble. Other then the normal perils of travelling with 2 small kids but not like I had a choice to leave them.
From London next was Toronto. Where I always get pulled over at customs. Every. Single. Time. This time though, I must’ve looked like a crack head. I’d been through a lot in the past few days and totally got it. But then they started asking little E questions like “”Who is this lady?” “What’s her name” and instead of saying mom he took it so literally and said what my actual name was. Which of course led to more questioning and a search of my bags. Like for real? Do you honestly think I want to be travelling with 2 little kids? Nobody in their right mind would do this for fun! Trust me, these tiny humans are mine and I am obligated to care for them!
We finally passed customs but had now missed our connecting flight to our final destination. I had to go through the hassle of rebooking (and paying extra for) the final flight a few hours later then the original. Then I grabbed some food for the kids and I and found a place to nap for a few hours until our flight. Once our boarding time came, little E was dead asleep on the floor. I had Z in a sling, also asleep and two carry-ons slung over my shoulder. I tried waking up little E but he was exhausted. No one was around to help so I had to try and pick up little E. I grabbed him as best I could by his arms and lifted him up to carry both kids. I ended up popping his elbow out. Not my best mothering moment, I know. Little E just wanted to sleep though, so even on the plane, he didn’t want me to touch his arm. I wrapped it in a blanket to keep it tight and still and little E slept the whole flight. Meanwhile, I was back and forth to the gallery making bottle’s for Z. During the last 2 days I had been so stressed that my body had entirely stopped producing milk for her. So even though I loved nursing my kids, Z was done at 6 months.
We got to my hometown a mess. Little E was holding his arm because I had popped his elbow out of place. Z was cranky because she wanted to nurse, and there was nothing there. I was exhaushed and at my limit. I hadn’t slept in almost 50 hours, I had been through one of the most stressful ordeals ever, and I had no idea what was next.
But we were all alive and would be safe. And that was what was important.
M’s van after the fact, posted with the following on FB:
“God never promised a problem free life but He does promise to never leave us. On Wed we were helping a friend leave Kenya when her family attacked our van. The father in law blocked the road and threw rocks at our windshield and then when we got away he came again to continue throwing another rock into my passenger window. God showed us a place to hide and many friends that came to help. We are bruised, cut and shaken up but very happy to be ok”
-Diddy&Dirty Money/Coming Home-