“Hey, hon! I almost didn’t make it to work today,” Phil casually announced as he walked in the door Thursday evening.
It has been drilled into us from the moment of our arrival – relationships are important in Kenya. Get to know the guards at the airport entrance, at the malls, at your neighborhood. Be friendly and talk to them. We’ve taken that advice seriously, and on Thursday morning, Phil reaped the benefits!
As he drove into the airport entrance, which is always manned by police officers, one of them he didn’t know stopped him. Asked him to pull over. Never a good sign. He asked for his driver’s license and insurance papers. He wasn’t happy with the International Driver’s License Phil had. Well, we’ve been waiting a long time to get all our resident documents – and the last piece is the Kenyan driver’s license – which is in the works and should be ready for pick up any day. But the police officer wasn’t listening to Phil.
The officer was determined, and insisted that Phil needed to go to court. “The judge will decide what to do with you.” He then hopped into the car with Phil, fulling intending to take him to the courthouse (or possibly hoping for a bribe). That’s how the officers handle traffic violations – they get in your car and you drive them to the police station, whether or not they are really supposed to.
Getting a bit nervous, Phil glanced over at two other officers walking towards him. He sighed with relief as he recognized them as ones he’s talked with before. They walked up to Phil’s window and shook hands. Phil explained, “This officer wants me to go to court.” Phil’s officer friend shakes his head, “No, No! It’s ok, he’s with the church.” They all look at his International License, and again, the friendly officer says, “No, no! It’s ok.”
The accusing officer, a little dejected, got out of the car. Phil said thank you, then the officer stretched out his hand and said, “My name is James.” Go figure.
Perhaps it’s another relationship in the making. Although one Phil will pursue AFTER we get our Kenyan licenses! Meanwhile, we’ll keep chatting with the guards and building friendships. You never know when they might come to the rescue again!