Saturday, December 1, 2012

So I Married an Ex-Con

Did you ever see the comedy "So I Married an Axe Murderer"?  

Well, this is nothing like that.

When we went to Virginia in 2009 for an 8-week training course with our company, we had a funny experience happen on the first day.  We walked in my oldest daughter’s classroom to find a piece of paper on the bulletin board identifying her place in the class.  It had her name, date of birth, and parents’ names.  The name and date of birth were correct, but her parents were listed as “Con & Kathryn Taylor.”

I have no idea where the name “Con” came from or why it was there, but we have laughed about it several times since then, and lovingly called Doug that on occasion.

Fast-forward to Nairobi, Kenya, October 2012.

My sweet husband offered to take my mother and the kids to a game park while I stayed home with the newborn.  They wanted to leave early to make sure they could get there when the park opened and have a chance to look for “cats.”  Usually a person’s best bet to see cats is early in the morning, after they’ve hunted at night.

I fixed lunches the night before, and they were packed and off early the next morning.

The drive to the game park was 2 hours from Nairobi. They had driven almost an hour when a policeman waved Doug down. 

He was told that a few kilometers back he had been “clocked” with a camera radar gun going 49 kilometers per hour over what he was actually driving.  Mind you, this would have put Doug driving over 90 miles per hour. Doug has never driven this fast in his life and though the speedometer goes above this, our car has never come close to this speed, even going down hill, while passing someone. Doug never drives that fast, but that’s what the man said. 

Doug had company, though.  The police were stopping many people, there were several other cars, buses, and taxis had also been pulled over.  They were told to wait and a police man would escort them to the police station. After thirty minutes of waiting the caravan of accused speeders traveled to the police station.

When they arrived at the Naivasha Police Station…

Let me pause here and ask if you remember my experience in Naivaisha last December?

That’s the town I was robbed in.


Anyway, Doug got out of the car, and locked my mom and the kids inside while he went to pay the fine or whatever it was he had to do. 

Mom and the kids were parked next to a van that had about 30 chickens tied on top.  Also milling around outside were all the passengers from the buses, taxis, and other cars that had been pulled over.

Kylie had my camera for the day, and she took these lovely photos for you as proof.


Doug was led into a room that was already filled with people who had been stopped for traffic violations. The police pulled out more chairs to make room for Doug and his “new friends.” Here the officers were hand-writing people’s information on forms (they did not have duplicates, so they had to hand-write all of the duplicates, too). Then they wrote their information in a book that Doug says was as big as half a dining room table.

An hour later, after enough of the accused speeders had their paper work done, they were marched single-file by armed guards in front and in back. Doug likes to call this the “chain gang.”

My Mom and the kids, still in the car, saw Doug being escorted out of the room they had taken him into, but they had no idea where they were taking him or what was happening.

Doug and the other drivers walked a half-mile to the “court house.” Here, Doug and the other perpetraters were led to a large fenced-in area next to the “court house.” Doug likes to call this fenced area “general population.”

General population had two smaller fenced-in areas where more people were behind the locked gate of those smaller areas. Doug likes to call those areas “solitary confinement.” That where the really bad guys are held.

About 10 minutes after arriving here, there were two truck-loads full of men in handcuffs backed up to the gate. The first group of men were unhandcuffed as they exited the truck and were let into “general population.”  The second truck-load of handcuffed men were unhandcuffed and led into one of the solitary confinement cages and the door was shut, but this time they locked the solitary confinement cage with some handcuffs.

Doug said he quickly moved to put his back to a wall and keep an eye on everyone while waiting for who-knows-what to happen. As Doug waited in general population to be called into court, he knew he would have to plead guilty or the ordeal would just take longer.  Finally, they called Doug’s name and he entered the court to appear before the judge and a packed courthouse full of people, but they had gotten Doug’s paperwork wrong. That could have been bad – “Uh, yes it says here that you stole a car and killed someone.”

For two hours Doug was in general population at the court house waiting for his trial!
Once they corrected the paper work, they called Doug back into the courthouse, and he agreed to their terms of payment.

While in gerneral population with all the other drivers, Doug found, that on average, they had all been clocked going over 20 km/hr over what they had actually been traveling.

Meanwhile, Mom and the kids were stuck in a hot car.  They weren’t eating because they would get thirsty, and they weren’t drinking any water because they didn’t want to have to go to the bathroom.  

After appearing in court Doug was moved to one of the solitary confinement cages - the one next to the hand-cuffed locked cage. One of the men in that cage kept whispering loudly trying to get Doug’s attention and to get him to do something for him.  Doug knew better than to hurt his chances of getting “out,” so he stayed put. He knew if this is what he was experiencing for speeding, he was not willing to find out what would happen if he aided and abetted a hardened criminal. 

The officers asked him if he had a type of payment plan that people sometimes have on their phone.  He did not.

About this time, everyone in the car needed to go to the bathroom.  But Mom was wise and didn’t want to let them go out in a strange area to find a toilet, and they couldn’t all go together and leave the car unlocked because Doug took the keys with him, so they were busy devising a plan where Mom would take one at a time and leave the other two locked up, waiting.

Doug had to give his fine money to a police officer guarding the gate leading out of general population and out to freedom. On top of the fine, Doug had to pay for the police officer to take a taxi to town to give his money to a certain bank and get a receipt saying Doug had paid. Thirty minutes later the police officer returned,  and finally Doug could be released.

When he reached the car, Mom and the kids were just getting ready to go to the bathroom, but they hadn’t left yet.

It had been three and half hours!

They did make it to the game park, but that wasn’t an easy task either.  They went to one entrance gate, and they were told they had to have a special pass to enter there.  SO…they had to drive another thirty minutes into town, and wouldn’t you know, the lady at the gate gave Doug a particularly hard time about his Uganda work visa.  She said he should let the Ugandan government know that he should have a certain stamp, not a sticker, like they had given him.

Uh…ok…I will…do that?!?

Anyway, they got home way after dark, and told me about the “Terrible, Wonderful Day,” as they called it. 

I had ordered pizza for them, but after one hour, I called to ask where they were.  They said that the Ugandan cell number I gave them wasn’t good for ordering in Kenya.  (Of course they didn’t tell me that when I ordered).  Anyway, I gave them a Kenya number, and tried again.  Another HOUR later, their dinner finally arrived.

What a day!

And that’s how it is that I married an Ex-Con.