The welcoming to Nairobi was done already. I didn't know I can be welcomed more than once. The first theft was exactly that- a first. The thieves weren't done with me yet.

It’s a new year, January 1. It’s been slightly over a year since my beautiful Sony phone was stolen. Coincidentally, I’m in the same company- my sister- in-law- and our babies this time seated on our laps in an Embassava matatu headed to Nairobi town from pipeline via Mombasa Road. When we’re about to alight in town, I become very conscious of my surroundings. My experience taught me well and I am not going to be caught again. I have with me two phones. One is a bulky one- a tablet- but not so valuable. So, as I organize my stuff before alighting, I decide that that can go into the back pack. The other is an iPhone 5, very valuable and also the one I am likely to receive a call on. That goes into my front right jeans pocket. It ought to be close. The bus has come to a halt now.

How they steal your phones- the first one
It’s definitely not being new, there’s something else these thieves see or smell and I just don’t know what. I am quite conversant with methods they use, situations and places that habour them, but somehow still, they have made me victim four times. Four phones in three years!

We stand up and strap our little ones to our chests. I remember something else- baby’s shoes. They are likely to come off at places such as these and be spotted later hanging from a matatu driver’s rear-view mirror. So, I tighten the little boot around the tiny foot and off we go. As we make that step onto the road from the bus, a Good Samaritan mentions the unexpected. “Hey mama, your baby’s shoe got off,” and he hands it to me. Well, I thought I had taken care of that. But you never know, maybe I hadn’t been thorough enough, or maybe… there’s no time to think.

“The last time we walked like this with you on these verandahs you know what happened. Let’s avoid the crowded verandahs.” This is me speaking wisely out of experience. So, we jump onto the road where we fight for space with vehicles and not people. The vehicles can’t steal from us, you know.

We cross the street and gratefully secure the front seats of the next bus we’re boarding. I think it’s now safe to make a call or two, probably let whoever’s at home know they should be expecting us in about 45 minutes. I reach out for my iPhone which should be securely in my jeans pocket, as close to my skin as I could get it. It’s not there. My pocket is flat. And empty.

How they steal your phones- Phone Number 3
No, I’m sure I had zipped it up securely because my teacher, Mr Experience, has taught me well. Apparently, it hasn’t taught me well enough because my phone is now missing from my bag. I search in the bag, around it, around me, on the floor and in the space between the seats but it’s just not there.