Greetings Earth Dwellers,
A couple of nights ago we went on adventure.
Nairobi at night is an adventure.
My camera could be taken. Definitely not in line with my will. He took it cause he needed the money, He can’t bear to live on these streets anymore. The night is getting colder and so is his heart. He needs to run from the streets. His dream isn’t to run the streets. His only hope is that it never will be.
However, he isn’t bothering me tonight. His attention is at the end of the street more than it is with my camera.
My camera could be taken. By those people watching the car. I can’t see them, my subject can’t either. My sight is trapped in the studio of my mind as I try and compose my shot. “Move to the left?” Its not enough. “To the left again?” Damn. Now its too much. “Now to the right. STOP! That’s perfect” And its like I can finally breathe normally again. The wheels turn faster, The wind blows colder. We were five, now we are two. Where are the rest? Probably on the next street. I should have noticed. Of course the wind was warning me. I turn, Behind me there are two silhouettes. Dammit. I should run.
This man, is bothering me tonight. His attention isn’t wavered, it isn’t altered. He is coming straight for me.
They look relatively young. But old enough to be out at this time of the night. They have camera’s that look super fancy. But why at this time of the night? They can’t be. Can they? I think i have been seated in this car for too long. Those three are escaping. Let me get these two.
I knew I should have run. But he doesn’t look dangerous. He is here anyway, lets face this speed bump. The questions begin. What am I doing here? What is my name? What do i do? What do i want with this building? What do i do again? Aargh! I’m tired of these questions. Get to the point. “We are policemen. This is wrong. What do yo mean why? Are you not Kenyan? Don’t take me for a fool. ” He is getting angry. I am tired of this session. He is being stubborn. My turn. “I’m sorry. I can show you what I shot. I can delete the ones you know are a threat to security. No, I do not take you for a fool. No, I am not being sarcastic. None are a threat? Oh! How lucky I am.”
Totally being sarcastic. He is calm. Why was he angry before? His turn. “We are under attack. Everyone is watching everyone. You have to be careful. Anyone can be one of them. Its not safe. Take those pictures during the day, not at night. Its the same thing” The sun is on a black sky canvas with stars at night, changing the light OBVIOUSLY. Sure. Its the same thing. I agree. I walk away.
He is no longer bothering me tonight. He has a family to get to. It was a temporary mix of a world he had no idea of. He had to explore. Or maybe he was doing his duty? Who knows these days.
My camera could be taken. Its a new location, safest location as decided from our little discussion. We park. So much energy now. Nothing can stop us here. The road is abandoned but there is some music from somewhere. Nikons and Canons come out to play. A group of five turns into doubles and single streams of creations. My subject stands beneath the light. It makes a halo around her hair. Like a crown of fire. A security guard mumbles something loud enough to attract our attention. We walk towards him. I mean, who else could he be talking to? “Not you.” Clearly he enjoys his own company. Back to the light that burns. She wears her crown of fire again. Glorious.
“Excuse! Excuse Madam!” A security guard, a different one.
He is CLEARLY bothering me tonight. He shall do it with a purpose, without distraction and with calculation.
‘Who are you? What are you doing here? What are you? Oh Photographers? And who told you this place is for taking pictures?” Who told you the air around you is for breathing? Another scenario. I hope this on blows over quicker. “Let me see those pictures” I show him. He sees them. He ignores them. “Who told you this place is for shooting?” He grabs my camera.
Give it back? Why? Cause its not yours. I take a step closer, then a step back. My guess is that be isn’t going to woo his girlfriend with the smell of his new cologne; alcohol. He dangles the camera. I’m getting angry. My voice is rising. He is mumbling a lot and dangling my camera. I get louder. I’m shaking. “Calm down.” CALM DOWN? I walk away. The other three come. Level headed. Settled. “Out of all the places in Nairobi, you decided to come take pictures here? What is so special about this place? You know it’s not right.” Give me a reason why its not right! No valid reason? I’m not surprised. Calm down? Look at the way he is holding the camera. He will damage it! I will not calm down. I feel five, The bully took my toy. I need it back, Is this where I am supposed to protect my property? He is shouting. The three who were level headed are now two. Now were both fuming. He says more words, I only catch a few. Money, Ego. Illegal. Afford. Another one down. Now we’re three fuming. We talk to his college. We explain. He is your boss? No wonder you can’t tell him to calm down. The two out of our quintet carry on. They are still calm, they are strong. A phone is produced, a number is dialed. “Hello Head Office. We have a problem with one of your people. What happened? What happened is that the level or reason-ability is not being reciprocated. Apology accepted. You are sending a team? Thank you” Superman is on the way. Rather, just his superiors. The two continue to reason with him, but his mind is scattering and his voice travelling. Shouting must be his talent.
The team arrives, Fear is in his eyes. I kind of smile. GIVE IT BACK! Give it back now! One of the two takes it. Their patience had just run out.
He bothered me tonight. He bothered me and five others tonight. He bothered us tonight. And whats more, My camera could have been taken.
Nairobi at night is indeed an adventure. And i guess these pictures are not a matter of national security. Go figure.