I booked flights for about 10 days out. They were the right combination of cheapest and nearest in date. Well they weren’t cheap, but I just wanted to get out of there ASAP. Then, after I booked the flights and paid, I sent an email to my mom letting her know our itinerary and just an update on what was going on. I didn’t let anyone else know what was happening because I already felt I was being watched like a hawk with my in-laws visiting all the time, and probably reporting back to E. So I attempted to go about life as normal.
Until, I got a call from E. He apparently had been monitoring my email and had seen the email to my Mom. In reality, there was not much he himself could do about me leaving since he was back in Canada now, but that didn’t mean he made it enjoyable for me. He hacked my Facebook and made a single post saying “I’m divorcing E” My friends and family started reaching out to me before I had a chance to delete it. I never post on FB, considering I was living in the middle of nowhere with limited access to internet, so they all thought it was a little out of the ordinary for me and wanted to make sure things were OK. Although the statement wasn’t a lie, it wasn’t how I wanted word to get out, for obvious reasons. So after changing all my passwords to everything… social media, banking etc, I braced myself for what was to come next, while still trying to get over the fact that E had been keeping tabs on all my emails and social media without letting me know. Not that I had anything to hide until now, but still, it pissed me off.
Visits from my in-laws increased ten-fold. In fact my mother in-law took it upon herself often to just come and stay ALL day. No matter how many times I asked her to leave MY house. She would come in the morning, and grab a chair and sit in the middle of MY living room, and order around my farm boy and whomever else had dropped in for the moment.
Calls from E were constant. To myself, to my farm boy, even to the neighbors. It became so overwhelming. To everyone.
So I decided to switch my flights. At this point I didn’t care how much money it cost to re-book them, but I had to get us out of there. I paid the $2000+ to change my current booking from a week out, to 2 days away. Then I started the packing. At this point everyone knew what was going on, so keeping it on the down low anymore was pointless. I gave away most of the kids things to the neighboring children. Clothes that had been worn out by the Kenyan sun, toys that were replaceable, everything. I had very little to pack personally, since anything of mine that hadn’t fit in the 1 of 3 suitcases that fateful Sunday, E had taken upon himself to throw down the outhouse instead of burning like he had threatened, leaving me with hardly anything.
I gave away our chickens to the farm boy and sent him on his way, thanking him for everything he’d done for me. We spent time with our neighbors, visiting and them crying, knowing in the back of my mind I was never going to return here.
Everyone was constantly telling me it wasn’t a big deal and I should forgive him. Which further cemented my belief that I HAD to get out. Now.
M had offered to help drive us to the airport which was in the next town over after we pick Little E up from school at lunch. I had told her she could have our mattress which I had brought from Canada a few months ago. I felt it was the least I could do for them after everything they had done for us. Because finding a good mattress in Kenya? Is like me finding a good man.
The morning of the flights arrived, and lo and behold so did my mother-in-law, bright and early. Whatever. What’s she gonna do to stop us? M arrived with her husband and 1 son to help with the luggage. They backed the van up to our back door and that’s when one of the most stressful days of my life started.
My M-I-L seriously thought she could single handedly stop us from leaving. She stood in the doorway and would refuse to move for anyone trying to get in or out with a suitcase. Everyone was super polite with her… “Excuse me, could you move please, I have to get out please,” then try to squeeze past her. Which wasn’t simple because my M-I-L isn’t a tiny lady. Then when she realized that her just standing in the way wasn’t working, she started grabbing the luggage out of the van and started carrying it back to the house. So M had to guard the van, while her husband and son brought the things out. But my M-I-L was still not impressed by that. She started grabbing things straight from M’s hands, which M was not having. My M-I-L even went so far as to push M away from some of my things, and then claim that M had beaten her!
I know, that in this moment I was not this most helpful person, but I honestly think I shut down. I couldn’t believe she was behaving like this. She started screaming and yelling and acting like we were the worst human beings in the world.
Then I saw my M-I-L walk towards the gate to the yard, so I rushed out the front door to get there first. I didn’t want her to close the gate and then sit in front of it or something ridiculous so that we couldn’t drive the van out, possibly causing us to miss our flights. So I sat on the ground calmly in front of the gate holding it open with Z on my lap and watched her come towards me.
You could see the look in her eyes she was beyond pissed. She knew that she was helpless in stopping me from leaving. Why she wanted me to stay, full of so much hatred for me, I don’t understand, but she was determined. She walked up to me and started on a huge rant. So I simply told her to fuck off. I know it was not kind or polite, but the situation called for it. Which I’ll always remember led to her saying “Yeah fuck me. Fuck me in the vagina” I hate to say I kinda chuckled at that. Then she grabbed her phone and called my father-in-law. She spoke in Swahili but I could tell she wasn’t happy. I also knew that what she was telling him was probably a lie considering all the yelling and hand waving that was going on. Lying seemed to run deep in that family.
M & D pulled up the van to the gate so I could get in with Z and we headed down the road. We got about 3 minutes down the road on our way into town to get Little E from school, when I see my F-I-L racing towards us on a piki piki.
The piki piki pulls over and I see him pull a stone the size of Z’s head out of his bag. Which means at some point on his way to my house, he stopped on the side of the road and chose a rock specifically for this purpose. He stops in front of the van so D could no longer drive. And then proceeds to smash the front of the window with the rock. M was yelling at D to drive past him but my F-I-L was standing right in front of the van and D didn’t want to run him over. My F-I-L grabbed the rock again and slammed the front window again. By now, M is frantic, I can’t believe this is happening, and D starts slowly moving the van trying to get away.
I’m starting to panic. I have no idea what my in-laws are trying to achieve with all this, or what they are capable of. But D slowly starts to drive and my F-I-L moves out of the way. D speeds up and M is yelling at him to just drive! D can barely see out the windshield because it’s been smashed to bits by the rock, so he’s trying his best. But all of a sudden we see my F-I-L’s piki piki pull up on my side of the van again with my F-I-L on the back. He hurls the rock again and it smashes through the front passenger side window shattering broken glass everywhere. M is covered in glass and yelling at D to drive faster. He’s doing his best to see through the broken window and navigate down the very rough dirt road that’s filled with pot holes. I was brushing glass off myself and baby Z, and all I could think about was Little E at school.
At this point, I had no idea how far my in-laws would go to try and get me to stay. I was honestly worried that they would kidnap Little E from school as like a hostage type thing. D drove off the main road to a friends house where they arranged to borrow a different vehicle for the remainder of the drive. You know, one without the windshield smashed in. I was the most frantic I’ve ever been. I just wanted to get my son and get the hell out of the country. NOW.
I called Little E’s school and told them not to let Little E outside at all. I asked them to please pack all his things and have him waiting IN the classroom. I told the teachers to not let ANYONE else, under any circumstance, pick him up except his mzungu (white) mother. Not his grandfather, not his grandmother, no aunts, uncles. Nothing.
The new car arrived with a clear windshield and we switched the luggage. The car was smaller and so just M, and her son and I went in the new vehicle with Z. D stayed behind to deal with his smashed van. We got back on the road again when two minutes later, who pulls out in front of us? My F-I-L. M’s son was driving so the rest of us ducked down so my F-I-L wouldn’t see us. We figured he wouldn’t notice the new car but we didn’t want to take any chances. And at this point I didn’t know what he was thinking or what he had spent the last 20 minutes doing/getting.
We sped as fast as we could into town, to ensure we’d arrive anywhere before my F-I-L but it still felt like too long. I called Little E’s school twice more to make sure he was safe, I didn’t care if the principal thought I’d lost my mind. We pulled up and I felt like it was a grab and go. I was on the phone with his teacher telling him when we would be pulling up and to get Little E ready. The guard opened the gate and ushered Little E out, and we pulled him into the car like a sting operation then pealed out like we were filming the next installment of the Fast and the Furious.
Next, we had to make a stop at the police station to report what had happened to M’s van. I, myself just wanted to get out of town, but I realized this was M’s life and she wasn’t leaving the country. They still had to come back to this mess at the end of the day, so it should be dealt with properly. M filed her police report with a little input from me, and after about an hour we were back on the road.
The first airport was about 2 hours away and it was a stressful ride. So many crazy scenarios ran through my mind. Every ridiculous thing that could happen I thought would happen. I thought maybe my F-I-L might be at the airport when we got there. I thought he might make up all these absurd accusations that would affect me leaving the country for some reason. I’m pretty sure M could sense my paranoia. Her and her son offered to stay with me at the airport until I absolutely had to board the plane, which I was so grateful for. But I was still so stressed out. I thought at any moment I would see the face of any one of my in-laws pop up from around a corner with who knows what, to do any number of things. My mind was exploding with possibilities.
It was finally time for my flight to Nairobi. I can’t even remember if I hugged M goodbye. I know I was so thankful for her and her family for everything they had done. I told her I would pay for the damage to her van. I knew as missionaries, they didn’t have extra cash to be throwing at things like that, and it was definitely not her fault. We would be keeping in touch for sure.
Once on the flight I had about an hour of peace. The kids were relatively good. I had told Little E we were going to see Nanna and Nonno (my parents) so he was excited, and Z was only 6 months old so not much trouble there. Once in Nairobi though, I was paranoid again. I had more in-laws there, and I legitimately thought that one of them would show up at the airport at the request of E. I also last minute realized that my 3 month VISA had long passed the expiry date, and I might have trouble with exit customs. Originally we were working on duel citizenship so I would have been fine, but now…. I grabbed a pen and altered my entry dates on my visa. I couldn’t handle any more issues, and I just wanted to get out of the country. I was desperate. Highly illegal yep, but this is how desperate I was.
I made it through customs by the help of my cute kids and talking about my famous Kenyan husband. No shame, because at this point I would do anything to get out. I finally relaxed a little once I was in the boarding area. It was the first time I think I took a full breathe all day. We made it to London without much trouble. Other then the normal perils of travelling with 2 small kids but not like I had a choice of travelling without them.
From London next was Toronto. Where I always get pulled over at customs. Every. Single. Time. This time though, I must’ve looked like a crack head. I’d been through a lot in the past few days and totally got it. But then they started asking Little E questions like “”Who is this lady?” “What’s her name” and instead of saying mom, like a normal kid, he took it so literally and said my actual name – C. Which of course led to more questioning and a search of my bags. Like for real? Do you honestly think I want to be travelling with 2 little kids for almost 4 days straight? Nobody in their right mind would do this for fun! Trust me, these tiny humans are mine and I am obligated to care for them! No human trafficking happening here.
We finally passed customs but had now missed our connecting flight to our final destination. I had to go through the hassle of rebooking (and paying extra for) the final flight a few hours later then the original. Then I grabbed some food for the kids and I and found a place to nap for a few hours until our flight. Once our boarding time came, Little E was dead asleep on the floor. I had Z in a sling, also asleep and two carry-ons slung over my shoulder. I tried waking up Little E but he was exhausted. No one was around to help so I had to try and pick up Little E. I grabbed him as best I could by his arms and lifted him up to carry both kids. I ended up popping his elbow out. Not my best mothering moment, I’m well aware. Little E just wanted to sleep though, so even on the plane, he didn’t want me to touch his arm to fix it. I wrapped it in a blanket to keep it tight and still so he could just sleep the whole flight. Meanwhile, I was back and forth to the gallery making bottle’s for Z to keep her quite. During the last 3 days I had been so stressed that my body had entirely stopped producing milk for her. So even though I love nursing my kids (my absolute favorite part of being a mom), Z was done at 6 months old, thanks to this stressful situation. The one small saving grace is that she had started taking a bit of formula a few weeks prior when the girls in the neighborhood wanted to hold and feed her while I was dealing with our situation, so I at least had some on the plane.
We got to my hometown a mess. Little E was holding his arm because I had popped his elbow out of place. Z was cranky because she wanted to nurse, but I was dehydrated and had dried out. I was exhausted and at my limit. I hadn’t slept more than an hour in almost 60 hours and I had been through one of the most stressful ordeals ever, and I had no idea what was next.
But we were all alive and would be safe. And that was what was important.
Below is M’s van after the fact, posted with the following on FB:
“God never promised a problem free life but He does promise to never leave us. On Wed we were helping a friend leave Kenya when her family attacked our van. The father in law blocked the road and threw rocks at our windshield and then when we got away he came again to continue throwing another rock into my passenger window. God showed us a place to hide and many friends that came to help. We are bruised, cut and shaken up but very happy to be ok”
-Diddy&Dirty Money/Coming Home-