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Stealing in God’s name

By | May 2nd 2012

By Farida Muka

I chewed the gum hard and noisily as I waited for my friend Mercy at our favourite meeting place outside Afya Centre before proceeding to college. As evening class students we had a lot of time to "kill" before getting to class. As I waited dutifully for my friend to arrive, a man walked towards me and greeted me.

My mother always told me to be polite to people so I responded. The man, who introduced himself as Mwangi, then asked me if I knew Gertrude Hospital. He explained that a doctor from the US was coming to perform a brain surgery on a ten-year-old boy.

stranger in town

I had only lived in Nairobi for a few months and therefore did not know where the hospital was. I sympathised with the man since he informed me the boy was his nephew and that he had carried Sh100,000 which was the initial payment for the operation.

Just before I was through telling him how touched I was by his humane gesture, another man approached us also looking for the same hospital. What a coincidence, I thought.

The man who introduced himself as Mutua said he was going there to see a friend. Since the two were headed to the same place, I begged to leave. But Mwangi engaged me in a talk. He told me he was a singer with a church choir whose name I forgot. He even sang me some of the songs they sing in their choir.

At this point, I was scanning the surrounding for my friend in vain. After a couple of songs Mutua offered to buy us some snacks. I declined the offer. My plea that he allows me to go to class fell on deaf ears.

I looked at my phone to check the time and to my surprise I was already half an hour late for classes. I thought Mercy was probably not coming.

Mwangi, who had also introduced himself as a pastor, told me God had showed him a dark cloud hanging over my head. He said this called for immediate prayers since my neighbours were after me and had cast a spell on me to fail academically and have a troubled marriage later in life.

shocking prophecy

He scared me even more when he mentioned that I had been bewitched and that I would never have children of my own.

"Can I hear some ‘riswa! Pepo mbaya ashindwe!’ Amen to that," he said. I immediately heeded to his advice to have him pray for me.So we went to a hotel along Tom Mboya Street. On the way, he revealed some information about Mutua’s family that Mutua confirmed as true. Mutua apparently had some issues with his family concerning land matters and that his wife often cheated on him since he was unproductive in bed after a stepbrother bewitched him.

On hearing the confirmation, I now believed the man’s words. For fear of anything he mentioned happening to me, I quickly agreed to let him cleanse my life.

But he said that he wanted us to be freed of any worldly possessions. Mutua was to be prayed for first. He was instructed to leave with us his leather jacket, which looked quite expensive, Sh65,000 in cash and two mobile phones.

He embarked on a purification mission that entailed giving to a poor elderly woman outside the hotel some Sh10.

Mutua went out and upon returning, Mwangi embarked on a five-minute prayer that involved talking in tongues then a loud Amen. And Voila! Mutua was cleansed of his troubles.

Now it was my turn to give my offering before the holy man of God would pray for me. I dutifully obeyed and gave all my possessions including my shawl that was covering my bareback top, my hand bag with my personal effects and Sh7,000 for tuition fee and my Nokia 7373 series phone. I had passed through Muthurwa market and purchased a jeans trouser and some matching plastic shoes, which I also left with them. I left the hotel in high spirits as thoughts of blessings and protection sent me flying very fast. I gave the woman the Sh10 coin I had carried and went back in the hotel only to find empty chairs.

new faces

At first I thought they had moved to a better sitting place, probably upstairs. I rushed there. The room was full of new faces. I went back downstairs to ask the waiters if they had seen the two men. The waiter innocently told me they went the moment I left. Even at that moment, it never occurred to me that I had been duped.

I borrowed the waiter’s phone and called my number. It rang and someone picked it. "I am back and I can’t find you in the hotel. Where are you?" I asked. The response is what brought me back to my senses. "Wewe msichana unajua mimi ni nani ama unataka nikuje nikumalizie. Wewe mjinga wa kuamini kila kitu (Do you know who I am or do you want me to return and finish you? You are a fool to believe everything)," and the line went dead to date.

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