There is no car-jacking or theft experience that can be termed as manageable or exciting or even better than another. Not when dealing with thugs who are wannabe drivers.
I have heard many stories of car-jackings and its very easy to give advice, fault the other or prepare yourself on what you could have done right. But the experiences are personal and dependent on so many other factors.
So, when the guy knocked my window with a gun and ordered me to turn off the engine, I knew my day had come. He then moved the the car in front and ordered the land lord the wife to lie on the floor. At this stage I had no doubt it would be a nasty experience.
The five minutes I sat in my car with the engine off but music playing seemed like eternity. I cant remember thinking of anything other than that I was sinking and was gulping water very fast and imagining what would happen.
Then another guy rushed, opened the door and ordered me to move to passenger seat. My seat belt was still on, so I asked whether I could touch it. He immediately reached for my phone; he knew where it was, though its not that hard to guess.
He reversed the car with so much gusto that I had no doubt he had been relishing the moment. Maybe he watches too many action movies.
Back in the compound, the guy with the gun had commandeered the other car and was now driving. Just like in the movies, he knocked two other cars when reversing, and in the process drew attention from other people in the flat.
When my neighbor on the second floor saw the guy with the gun and heard the shot, she started screaming, which created confusion and raised the attention of others in the other blocks. At this time, the thug in my car was growing agitated and was trying to call the other guy but could not get through or something like that.
When the guy directed the torch to the fuel tank and saw how “nice” it was, I could picture a crooked smile on his face and in my heart, I knew I was half past gone.
At this stage, I started thinking of how to conjure a story, that would convince the guy to dump me by the road side alive, and go with the car and whatever else was in it. But the commotion and confusion was too much, and the guy started talking to me.
Thug: Iha laptop (Wheres the laptop)?
Me: I nyumba no ngugirire (its in the house but I can get it for you)
Thug: Wina mbeca (got money)?
Me: O na ndakworwo nda heana iria nyuma na cio no ndina nini nyumba (just gave out what I had but got some in the house)?
At this time I was praying the guy does not see the bag at the back seat of the car and that he does not take me to the house because I had no money. I have a HP in my house that reached premature menopause so if push came to shove, I would have been happy to leave everything and just walk away.
It was looking like the incident was going to take hours as the guy with the gun started firing in the air and decided they were to leave with my land lord’s car and everyone in it. So the thug in my car left and joined his comrade.
Meanwhile, neighbors in the other flat decided to block the way with one of the cars and although the thug drove at a break neck speed, he could not go far; their cage had been rattled and they had to run.
Back in my car, I was thinking how lucky we were; that the thugs did not decide to shoot at people but in the air. They fired four bullets but you just never know.
Then I was grateful to my neighbor for screaming and creating the confusion and rattling their cage somehow or disrupting their plans. At that point, anything looks like the ultimate help.
The funniest thing is that I usually go home between 9 and 10 pm; just the day I decided to be home by 7.30 pm, the thugs strike. There is so much to hypothesize but in the end, I just feel lucky that I am writing at this side of life, if they panicked and shot, maybe the story would have been different.
I am just luck I am writing today!