George Samoei Kemboi, a grandson of Koitaleel arap Samoei, recalls his mother throwing him over to his aunt after they ran into a roadblock.
“We were going to rejoin my father, Barsirian arap Manyei who had escaped Nandi to go to Laikipia when we ran into the British along the way,” he said.
?Instinctively, his mother asked the aunt to quickly go through the check and catch the baby boy she would throw on the side of the vehicle they were travelling in.
?The aunt caught Kemboi and secretly slid with him through the dragnet to return to Nandi as the rest proceeded to Laikipia. ?“Had I been discovered to be a Talai, worse still from the Koitalel family, we would not be here sharing this story,” said Kemboi, 59.
Kipchoge Arap Chomu, Secretary of the Koitalel family in charge of Logistics and Research, said apart from shielding the boy child like it was in the Bible during the birth of Jesus, the women also acted as spies.
When men from the clan were arrested and hounded into detention camps, Chomu said it was women like Tabaigoi who gathered intelligence on the British.
“They were allowed to visit their husbands and sons in detention and they would tell them what the British were planning and doing out there,” he explained. This helped the men plan how they would counter the white settlers. Chomu added that some women from the community even faked their identity and sought employment in British families and the colonial Government so as to spy on them.
“And when the men planned detention breaks, the women would help sneak in weapons undetected to the detained Talai men,” he said.
Tabaigoi’s granddaughter, Judy Koskei said her grandmother was widowed at an early age, but stood firm and gallantly soldiered on, protecting and catering for her children.
“At one time after she was released from detention, she escaped further harassment and imprisonment with her family to Mt Elgon on the Uganda side,” she explained.
After Koitalel’s death, life became unbearable for his immediate family as the colonialists hunted them down.
Tabaigoi would later find her way back to Kenya after the British had forgotten about her and sought employment as a Prison Warden in 1952.