Late yesterday morning, Richard dragged into the PhD study room above the library. “How are you?” I asked. This was his answer.
Well . . . At 10:30 last night, I got a call from a friend from church. He was on his way home on the other side of Nairobi, when the matatu [taxi van] he was in came up on a roadblock where young men were pulling people from different ethnic groups out of vans. Knowing he was the wrong group for this part of town, as soon as the matatu stopped, he fled into the bush with several men in hot pursuit.
“Where are you?” “I have no clue. I’m in the bush, and these guys are circling in closer and closer. On just walked by, inches from where I am hiding.” “What is the last landmark you remember on the highway? . . . When you got out, did you run to the right or to the left?”
I called the police station in that area across town only to be told that everyone was already out, and the only two officers left had to hold down the fort. His wife called pleading with me to do something. So I jumped into the car and raced across town, picking up my brother on the way. Maybe we could plead for his life even if they caught him. I just kept praying the whole time, “Lord, make them blind. Make them blind.” We raced up and down the highway until we found the abandoned road block, but there was no sign of my friend.
We tried to call again. “The mobile you are calling has been switched off.” We feared the worst. His poor wife. They’ve only been married 29 days, and she lost her first husband in a freak carbon monoxide poisoning accident on the 29th day of that marriage. She was so distraught that she started having seizures.
An hour later as we were racing up and down the highway at top speed, my cell suddenly rang again. It was him!! He still had no clue where he was, but his pursuers had moved away and he could see some lights . . . “it looks like a gas station.”
Yesterday morning, the wife was still so traumatized that she had to go to the hospital for treatment.
Now about that dissertation proposal.