Muli was thrilled, he had just turned 11 and got his first bike, it was a BMX. And boy could that bike move! He had received a BMX stunts magazine and he was in love. Muli was the envy of the neighbourood kids. He had just wrapped up breakfast that Saturday and was allowed to play outside.
It was a warm August mid morning. Muli had been riding his bike in circles round the pine tree. He attempted a few stunts and almost toppled over. His mum yelled from the living room where she had been watching him.
“Muli! Muli! Wewe! Wewe! Don’t you try that! In fact where is your helmet?” Her index finger pointed straight at him.
Muli quickly hopped off his bike and grabbed his helmet. He knew that look his mum gave him when she ‘inquired’. He was getting bored, riding around in circles.
“Muli! Muli! Muli!” a voice called out playfully and persistently. Muli looked through their hedge and saw his friend Vincent. “What Vinnie?”
“Want to go ride elsewhere? My mum said we can go close by, like the park near Oti’s place.”
Muli opened his mouth about to say yes, then he turned back facing the direction his mum was seated. “Wait a minute.” He gestured with his hand, dropped his bike to the ground and ran in to the house. Immediately he got in to full view of his mother, his hands went straight behind his back.
“Yes, Muli. What do you want?”
Muli smiled sheepishly at his mother’s playful glint in her eye. She knew exactly where this conversation was going.
Muli grabbed his mother’s hands with his tiny ones, “Can I? Can I go and ride with Vinnie and Oti? Pleeeease? Pretty Pleeeeease. I promise to be safe.” He smiled as he knocked his helmet bright eyed.
His mother smiled and nodded. “But I need you to be back here in two hours.”
Muli dashed out as he looked at his watch. “Got it!”
In no time the gate was swinging shut and laughter and spinning bicycle chains could be heard whirring in the distance. Vinnie and Muli found Oti by the road; they had no intention of cycling round the neighbourhood. Ngong town, about 10 km from where they were, was the destination. The boys fastened their helmets, got their reflectors on and the chase began. They carefully maneuvered their way on the road, occasionally racing each other. Once they got to Ngong town to their surprise there was Sammy, Vinnie’s younger brother. The “handful”.
“What are you doing here? You’ll get us in trouble. Go back!” Vinnie shoved his brother who was now on the verge of tears. He was 8 years old and had followed an alternate route once he heard his brother’s plan. There was no way he was going to be left behind. After a lot of shoving and shouting, Vinnie had no option, he had to keep and eye on his kid brother. “Brat! You better stay in line or else…”
“..Or else” Sammy mouthed in mockery with a sneer plastered all over his face.
In just a matter of minutes Sammy was missing, his bike was on the ground, no helmet no reflector jacket. Where in the world could he have gone? They had turned for about three minutes to discuss the route they would use to keep going.
“Sammy! Stop being silly! I will so tell Mum! SAAAAAMMMMY!” Vinnie yanked off his helmet and threw it to the ground in frustration. He thought this was a practical joke. But after 20 minutes of walking around the 500 metre radius they stood in, no one was laughing. The day was drawing to a close and the boys were far from any help and Sammy was genuinely missing.