I am currently in Kenya for the launch of African Leadership Centre, a centre that will henceforth handle peace and security fellowship for African women and men. I arrived safely but not before I took a bottle of white wine which I kinda drained to get rid of my flight turbulence anxiety. I kinda got drunk and I wrote to God in the plane. I said to God " God, now that I am drunk (forgive me), it is now easier to cope with this turbulence. Yeah, I wrote that.
We got to Nairobi and I had to get a visa at the point of entry. I found out after the deed had be done and I have been burned - I will soon get to the story- that Nigerians no longer need a visa to enter Kenya. Is this true anyone? I have not come across this information anywhere. Back to how I got burnt or duped, I queued to get the visa, got to the visa lady only to learn she would not accept my ATM card, I had to withdraw Kenya Shilling using the ATM machine and paid her. This was fine. I left promptly to do so after asking her how much this would cost in Kenya Shilling as people normally pay in dollars or pounds. This would normally be $25 or £20.
I am always in touch with currency exchange rate and all but this time, I asked how much I needed to pay and went to get the money without giving a thought to the currency exchange rate. How was I to know that I am dealing with a dishonest person, sitting and with a warm and friendly smile on her face? She told me the equivalent of $25 dollars would be 3,000 Kenya Shiiling. I got the money, paid and left. I was already out of the Airport before I found out I have paid Kenya Shilling worth of $40 dollars for a $25 dollars visa! WTF? Do I really have to be suspicious of people all the time? Is this really a good image to give your country? I thought people generally believe this can only happen in Nigeria. Gaddemmit!
I am still very pained by this and could not find a justification for this dishonesty and frudulent act. Gaining $15 off me? Tell me how this experience will not have a cautionary and " do not trust no one ever" effect on me? I am sitting here thinking of what to do. Should I go and report this to the authority at the airport and make the lady face the music and prevent future occurence of this act? Should I just forget this, write it off as a bad experience that I have learnt greatly from? Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirate of Carieabean said " a dishonest person will always be dishonest...", I am finding this to be so true. If this individual has any dignity, this would not have happened. I am not going to blame myself for trusting this individual but this has produced a kind of " put Nigeria on the security watch list, whether this is the first time the country produced a suicide bomber or not or whether or not the father reported to secret agents or even worst whether or not the boy was trained in the UK" effect on how I deal and relate with people of any country, colour and nationality!
I am still thinking of how to handle this fraudulent person and her dishonest act. Suggestions anyone? Yeah, to move to another important event. I was in Nigeria briefly 2 weeks ago and I had to get to Lome by road to leave back for Mali. At the Nigerian border ( anyone can see the difference in the atmosphere on how the Naija border officers conduct their affairs. Man, these guys can be annoying and incompetent!), an NDLEA officer stopped our car to search us in case we carry hard drugs. When it was my turn, this guy asked me if I was a Nigerian, I answered. Where (the state) in Nigeria I came from, I answered. Which town I came from. I asked how relevant that was to his search. He said it was within his jurisdiction. I answered. Then he asked if I speak my dialect? WTF somebody? Seriously? What kind of jurisdiction is this? What this guy just being stupid or what? That is the story of this African queen at the moment...