Chapter 0: Lemon Drops and Ak-47's
I awoke at sunset to a gun barrel clicking on the tinted passenger-side window of our SUV. A sixteen-year-old held the assault rifle in his hands. He was wearing a fraying green army jacket and what looked like a picnic blanket wrapped as a skirt. After attempting to look through the glass, he motioned for me to roll down the window.
I looked at Michael. “We found them.”
“Actually they found us,” he corrected. “And now we are their prisoners. Or their guests,” he added with a grin. “That remains to be seen. Either way, they will bring us to the camp.” He reached across me to roll down my window before shouting at the teenager in his mother tongue. Two more teenagers with AK-47s emerged from the desert thicket. Michael reached out of the driver’s side window, shook their hands, and asked them where their camp was.
“So do these guys know who you are?” I asked, trying to sound calm. We were out of cell phone range. The radio stations had buzzed into white noise hours ago. “Oh, no worries, buddy,” he said. “These are just some young herdsboys from my tribe, the famous Pokot.” He pulled down his lower lip and pointed at a gap where his bottom two front teeth should have been.
The boy at the window smiled with the same missing teeth. “Don’t worry.” He patted me on the leg. “They are just taking some precautions. In fact, when I was a herdsboy we were always on the lookout for spies. You know so many people out here are trying to steal cows. So they have to make sure. They want to take us in for a bit of questioning."