Good Girls: Nairobi Chapter


Later, I say to GB, “Let’s play a game.”

“I’m listening.”

“You’re this villain called Seagurd Bastard, you’re the bad guy. I’m the good guy, the cop, the private investigator. My job is to understand how you think. Or rather, to make you think. I’ll be the one asking the questions, you’ll be the one making up the story. I’ll call the game Criminal Minds.”


“Think about that office on the 6th floor of the landlord’s building, where we climb 108 steps,” yeah, I’ve counted them, “to pay our rent. Si we all pay it in cash, as in all tenants, in all their properties, have to physically go to this office and make their cash deposits there. So I want you to plan a heist to steal that rental cash. Tell me how you’ll do it.”

It’s the odd hours between 11 a.m. and lunchtime. We’re knocking back a bottle of Gentleman’s Jack in our deluxe tent here at Serena Sweetwaters Tented Camp.

It’s Friday.

We’re here for the weekend. We’re here because, well, because at some point of your young marriage, you’ll get restless with your routines and you’ll ask yourself, “Is he boring?” “Am I boring?” “Are we boring each other to early bedtimes and binge TV?” Nobody is boring. (Well, maybe, a little bit.) It’s the marriage that gets boring. Hella boring. Not that it can get boring – it will get boring. Like any relationship is wont to.

Has your boss ever bored you to the point where, as they’re giving you a dress down about some bull, you think about what they’d look like if they grew a handlebar moustache and took this dress down on the road as stand-up comedy?

It’s a simple cause-and-effect, this boredom. Home is synonymous with the marriage. The marriage has become boring. Which equates to home being boring. So you pack up and get on the road and drive to wherever that road will take you.

(Just make sure you’ve not packed this boredom into an extra suitcase and brought it along with you on your road trip. Pack poorly-fitting lingerie instead. And whiskey. And board games. Hahaa.)

Well, we drove four hours and 205 kilometers from Nairobi to Nanyuki. It was drizzling by the time we got to Ol Pejeta’s park gates. It was a little before they shut the gates for the night at 6 p.m. The KWS guards are strict about this – you could bring a busload of boisterous traditional dancers to thaw them but the guards will icily stick to their guns. Screw you and the entitlement that comes with your urban tardiness.

Serena Sweetwaters Camp is one of the luxury tented camps in Ol Pejeta Conservancy; there are also bush camps, cottages, ready-for-sale villas and a sanctuary in the Conservancy’s expanse.

Sweetwaters is tucked 3kms into the Conservancy. The roads to the Camp are fairly graded and our city car, with its low clearing and pretentious pampers, navigated with little damage to its underbelly.

The Camp itself is a fenced oasis of green lawns, acacia trees that are evenly spaced out, neat concrete pathways, a small swimming pool, birdlife, a watering hole and 56 tents. Seventeen of these tents are deluxe, the others are standard.

The door of our deluxe tent opens to a deck and beyond it, past the electric fence, is the semiarid plateau of the park. It’s also more spacious and private, has a better view of the wildlife and park, than the standard tent.

It’s a tidy distance from the main housing of the Camp, though. And there are no telephone extensions in the tent. There was one morning during our weekend stay when the generators went off and water stopped pumping. It wasn’t amusing because I’d already soaped myself in the shower. Thank our lucky stars GB had Hussein’s number.

(You’ll meet Hussein later in this story. For now, think of him as something of a modern buff messiah in cargo pants and greasy curly hair. And eyes that are too close together. Oh, and a Coasterian accent.)

The tented structure means that the nights are howling cold, especially before dawn; room service gave us hot water bottles and extra blankets each night. We also do what we have to to keep each other warm. Wink.


Much later on this Friday afternoon, after lunch, GB and I will play two rounds of Scrabble. I’ll beat him in both rounds hands down. It’s fascinating that I always whoop his ass yet he’s the one who taught me how to play the game with tact.

I won our first game ever by pure luck and by his sloppiness. It was a Thursday, I recall, a plan for date night. We had set up the board on a pouf in the living room and had sat crossed legged on the rug, as if we were indulging in an Arabian feast. A Naija mix played on YouTube from the TV and, because this is what we do with each other when we aren’t parenting, we were having some whiskey. It was fun.

I showed off my mastery of the English language on that Thursday night of Scrabble. I played big words like ‘hubris’ and ‘memes’ and ‘chagrin’. Mastery and show-off isn’t the way to win at Scrabble, though. That was only half my naivety, the major half was that I carelessly placed my big-word tiles on the board. I was the one keeping score, and not once did my fancy words earn me more than 10 points.

GB went for two-cent words like ‘cute’ and ‘old-er’ and ‘last’. Words he placed with such thought that he got triple-letter and triple-word scores. He was mawing 21 points at each play.

The only reason I ended up winning is because of his sloppiness. We were down to the wire and I only had three tiles left. It was my turn to play. I followed his eyes and saw where he didn’t want me to place my tiles – some ripe corner of the board where he’d append one, maybe two tiles and score double bonus points to seal his win. And that’s exactly where I placed my tiles to bring the victory home. You should have seen my victory dance, hahha.

Now here we are at Sweetwaters playing this game called Criminal Minds, where he’s a villain called Seagurd Bastard (look that up, by the way, it means something) and I’m the private investigator.


Back to my question about the heist for the rental cash, GB doesn’t balk. The Kuyo in him has awoken and is relishing in the bad blood of his alter ego. He says, “So the first thing I’ll need to know is how often they bank the cash. I’ll get that intel from an inside guy.”

“You have an inside guy?”

“Yeah.” He sounds surprised that I’d ask.

“Why wouldn’t you have an inside chick?”

“Because chicks get emotional and they can spill the beans when pushed to the corner, so I’ll work with a guy instead, guys know how to keep it together.

“This insider will tell me how often they bank the cash; when and what time of the day, which bank it’s taken to. Because our landlord are chutis and they don’t want to spend more money moving the money, it’s likely they don’t use G4S or guys of security to take that cash to the bank. I’m sure they drive it there themselves, in one of their cars. So that’s where I’d strike. I wouldn’t climb up the stairs to get into their office building because–”

“Exactly,” I say interrupting him. “Because how would you get out?”

He nods. “So we’d just be two of us; masks and guns to make them cooperate and take us seriously. Then–”

“Ski masks, ey?” I interrupt again. This whiskey is making me rude and my mind shakey. It even makes me think of that old track from 50 Cent, Ski Mask Way. I get mine the fast way, ski mask way.

“Yeah. Take the bags of cash from there. I know how much I’d get because my inside guy would have told me how much they [the landlord] usually collect at this time of the month, when guys are making their payments.”

“He’d have told you this on that one month or over a period of time?”

“Over a period of time. Ofcourse.”

I feel dumb. “Ofcourse. Enhe…”

GB animatedly continues, “We’ll run the heist when most guys are going there to pay their rent. So that’s anywhere between end month, huko ma 28th and to the 5th, maybe 6th. Not later than 7th. 7th is late, tenants pay their rent on time because they don’t want to be fined for late payment. My inside guy should already have given me that intel about cash depos.”

“Right. And how would you drive off with the cash?”

“We’d drive off in a boda. Drive off in the first one from the scene of the heist then the first guy would meet up with the second guy at an agreed spot, he’ll be waiting with another bike with the engine running. The cash will switch bikes and hands here, and they’ll drive off to different locations. The first guy will go his way and the second guy will bring the stash to a safe house, that’s where it’ll sit for a few hours until the heat is off.”

It sounds like a foolproof plan. I think about what could go wrong. I think about the number plates on the bikes, and bike gear for the riders and any distinguishing mark on the bike that would tell it apart from the next bike. I also think about traffic. And if there happens to be a cop on motorbike patrolling the area. And if there are any CCTV cameras in the vicinity of the crime scene. Where would the riders dump the motorbikes? What about finger prints? And what about the cash itself, what if it has GPS or stuff like that? What if the bags are bugged? What if these bags are just decoys and the real bags are moved after the decoys?

I don’t ask these questions. Instead, “How would you make sure you guys don’t get caught?”

“We’d lay low for many months, maybe even years. Stealing that cash is only 50 per cent of the jobo – the other 50 per cent is in not getting caught.”

“And how do you make sure your inside guy doesn’t get caught?”

“I’d already have briefed him on what to do: don’t quit your jobo, wait for them to fire you; don’t change your lifestyle in any way – don’t move out of where you live, don’t make any big investments at home or huko shagz; don’t buy some flashy phone or car or suit; don’t buy your wife any jewellery; don’t suddenly become happy and show it. Haha. Stay as you are.”

“As frustrated and broke as he is, aye?”

We chuckle.

I probe, “Where would you guys have met with your inside guy? How would you guys have planned all this without phone calls? I’m imagining that you don’t talk anywhere where you could leave a paper trail.”

“I’d meet him at the kiosk or the stage or the bar where he drinks. Or just have a conversation with him by the side of the road. We’d be two unsuspicious guys. But I’d never be the one to meet him, I’d have one of my guys do it.”

“Oh, because you’re the mastermind?”


“But what’s in it for your inside guy? Why would he agree to be part of a crime that could lose him his job and land him in jail? Why would he consider being someone’s bitch at Kamiti?”

GB chortles. “They’re probably not paid very well huko, si you know how chutis roll? I’d give this guy a ticket to buy his freedom without anyone getting killed.”

“Would you involve his mother?”

“Why would I involve his mother?!”

“Si you know how in movies the bad guys tell the good guy who doesn’t want to be part of the crime,” my voice flattens into a chilling monotone, Pablo Escobar style, “‘I know where your crippled mother lives, 2kms off the dirt road in Gachagua. I have someone watching her right now. Oh, they just sent me a picture of her milking her cows. Wanna see it? I also know where your daughter, Wairimu, goes to school, the van picks her up 3 sharp and the help waits for her at your court gate at 3.35 sharp. Would you want anything to happen to Wairimu? Or to your lovely wife who works at Nation…’” I laugh out aloud. GB snickers.

“And how would you know your inside guy is The One?”

“I’d have stalked him for many months,” GB says in a assured tone, “and gathered intel about him. I’d know that he needs the cash and would be willing to go the extra mile for it. And that he’s a smart guy who can think on his feet and keep up with appearances.”


We look out of the slightly open glass door and into the park. Zebras in a herd stroll past. There’s a watering hole opposite the main housing of the Camp. Most late mornings and early evenings, the animals from the park congregate here to catch some sips – the waterbucks, wildebeests, elephants, lone buffalos, even a black rhino. It’s calming to sit on the lawn benches and watch them socialize and poke fun at each other.

I’ve been thinking about heists a lot of late after catching this series on Netflix, Good Girls. You seen it?

Good Girls is about three suburban women who rob a convenience store because they need the money.

Mine is a short story, I can’t introduce three new characters who won’t go further than here, so I’ll tell you who they are instead.

The three women: one is a black woman who works in a diner; her husband is a cop, they have two kids; their daughter is fed oxygen by a tank she drags everywhere with her – she needs surgery after her kidneys fail because of something to do with the oxygen.

The other woman is a white single mum to a daughter who’s androgynous; she’s a cashier in the convenience store they rob, she’s their insider; she needs the money to fight for custody of her daughter.

The other woman, big sister to the other white girl, is a housewife with four kids; she discovers her husband is having an affair with his secretary and has dug the family into a grave of debt; she needs the money to keep her family afloat and from becoming homeless.

It’s not the why of the heist that piques my interest. We’d all do with some immediate extra cash in our pockets, heaven knows, the moral dilemma notwithstanding.

It’s how they did it.

How I’d do it.

Remember that story from last December, about the three brothers who stole 52 mil from KCB Thika? (Well, they’re the ones that got their hands dirty, there was someone sitting somewhere pulling the marionette strings.) The brothers dug a tunnel from their rental kiosk – stall, bookstore, whatever – at the exhibition centre next door, into the bank’s strong room.

I know this is a tad twisted but that patience they put in, and intelligence and smarts, their obedience to the masterminds of the heist, calls for rounds of applause. It does, admit it. I secretly hoped the brothers and the masterminds wouldn’t get caught.

I sip my whiskey and ask GB, “So now you guys have stolen, what, let’s say 25 mil. You’ve laid low for many years. How do you wash that money back into the economy? How do you spend it without raising eyebrows?” I hastily add, “Money is power, you know, and it corrupts the heart and mind of man. That’s how people end up cutting off the loose ends – you’ll kill to keep that plunder to yourself.”


There’s a swimming pool at the Camp but the water is uncomfortably cold to stay in for too long. It doesn’t get any warmer, even on those scorching afternoons. I lounge under the shade instead and read a book from my Kindle.

Saturday afternoon, the resident masseuse gives us a relaxing aromatherapy massage in her grass-thatched parlour. I don’t remember much because I fall asleep a few minutes into my hour.


GB scratches the top of his head as he thinks, he’s shut his right eye half way down. This shutting-eye-thing is what he does when he’s about to share brilliance. It’s a hilarious gesture. I hold back my laughter.

He says, “I’d take a huge bank loan then use the heist money to pay it back. Then I’d use the loan to build a flat for rent, launder more money in there. I’d still have more money left….” he trails off, “I’d loan some to a pal, then finance him to build a flat.”

Aki Kuyos and their flats, hahha. If a Kuyo man had the option, he’d ask to be buried in one of his flats.

I say, “Wouldn’t you want to travel or something? Indulge in some sort of luxury? I would.”

“Nah, that’s a dead giveaway. It’s like telling the cops, ‘I’m here, come arrest me.’ It’s not smart.”


On our third and final day, Sunday, we take a game drive in the park at 6a.m. The Camp charges heftily to hire their tour van and driver but we use our pampered car because the inroads aren’t that rough. Also because it doesn’t hurt to put that money back in our pockets.

We got Hussein to take us on the drive. The buff messiah I’d mentioned earlier. He’s a chatty, long-time environmentalist with the Camp.

Hussein speaks mostly in Coastal Swa and throws in some English; his accent underlines every word and adds multi-dimensions of flavour to our game drive experience.

It’s probably because of this accent that I never forget when he explains how beautiful the Grevvy zebras are and how thick the thighs of the Common zebra are all seasons, even during droughts like this. Or how the Thompson gazelle differs from the Grant’s gazelle and how they all fall undcer the category of antelopes. Also, how the giraffe’s skin patterns differentiate the Rothschild from the Reticulated. And how the black rhinos are more shy than the white.

The highlight of our game drive is a cemetery that’s a memorial for all the rhinos killed in the park by poachers since 2004. It’s solemn. One headstone reads, “Ishirini. Female black rhino. Born 17th May 1996, died 22nd Feb 2016. Rhino likely killed by use of poisoned arrows. The security team found her writhing in pain with the horns already chopped off. She was 12 months pregnant.”

I ask Hussein and he tells me Ishirini was about four months away from giving birth. I shiver.

A rhino’s horn is one of the most expensive elements in the world, by the way. A gram in the black market retails at $110. A gram of cocaine is $236 (hello, Narcos.) A gram of antimatter is $62.5 trillion.

There’s something Hussein later mentions that pricks me to my core. He says, “Poachers wanataka pembe ya kifaru pekee. If they were patient enough to drug the rhino and wait, then cut of its horns bila kumuua, these rhinos wouldn’t be endangered. Lakini hawa poachers ni wezi na wanataka kutoka haraka, hawana wakati wa kupoteza.”

We don’t see the lions, though. By the time we drive to where they usually hang out, it’s about 7.30a.m and they’ve already cleared the meat from the bones of their previous evening’s hunt.

Hussein says they’ve probably gone somewhere to nap and ward off the gradually rising temperatures of the Ol Pejeta.

Five why questions I’ve found answers to in my 30s
Five for Kampala’s nyama choma paradise at Ku Mbuzi

Comments (4)

  1. Judy Chirie

    Nice piece Bett! Ati Kuyos and their flats? Had me tickled to no end! We met Hussein too at Sweet waters; burly friendly fellow ..and he took us straight to where to lions were sleeping right by the road side after a heavy night( for them).. they could only manage to stir for about thirty seconds before dozing off-highlight of our trip!
    I love your writing..keep at it!

    • Bett

      Hussein doesn’t call it a day until all his guests see those lions, aye? Hahha.

      Cheers to reading and to commenting, Judy.

      Hang a while longer.

  2. Judie

    I love how you work to keep your marriage interesting . Keep at it

    • Bett

      I’m chuffed to hear that from you, Judie!

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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