I think it has become slightly safer for people to talk on phone while walking downtown Nairobi. After seeing their comrades beaten to death over cheap phones, I guess the thugs have changed tact.
But it does not mean that the thieves have abandoned their trade, they have just become sharper; the steal the phones that are more expensive.
My friend Muthoni, made us laugh the other day when she told a story of how the thugs in the estates have learned the value of the phone by the ringtone.
Her story was that there was this woman going home one day in Dandora estate, and she was passing through an alley. It was at 7 pm so there were many people walking to and from the shops, acting busy.
Though her phone was ringing, she could not pick because of the four men who were walking with her group. So the phone annoyingly rung and it was apparent that she was fearing that her phone might just go.
Put off by the ringing or failure to remove the phone from the bag, one guy said, “Mama oya thimu ithuii tutiendaga Motorola.” (Just pick up the phone we are not interested in your Motorola).”
But if its a Nokia, they know the series by the ring tone and they just kindly ask you to pretend you are relatives and just hand over the phone! They even force you to hug them as they rob you in front of everyone.
Others are able to tell the kind of phone when its in the pocket; depending on the shape it projects in the pocket.
The tips are apparent; don’t wear tight trousers then slide the phone in the pocket, unless you want to invite the crooks. If you can, let the phone be on vibrator or the single beep then vibrator otherwise the phone will just go.