Unveiling Systemic Flaws: When Government Offices Break Your Spirit and Trust

Disclaimer: The following article discusses instances of discrimination, corruption, and lack of empathy. Reader discretion is advised.

On October 31, 2023, a date renowned for spooky costumes and sugary treats, we were offered a different kind of fright—a deep-rooted, soul-shaking experience that unraveled at a shared city square post office in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Harrowing Incident

Our mission was straightforward: to pick up a package of children’s toys, valued at $100, intended as Christmas gifts for our academy’s young learners. But this act of joy soon disintegrated into an abyss of humiliation and disbelief. The absurdity? A tax fee that equated to a staggering 60% of the package’s worth.

The Indignity of Discrimination

Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Barometer — Africa 2019” reports, “One in four people have paid a bribe in the past year when using a public service.” Our journey into this disheartening statistic commenced when forced to unwrap pre-packaged gifts for children—due to the astonishing lack of a package scanner in a government customs office dealing with international parcels.

The absence of any signage prohibiting recording led me to document the ordeal. Our souls shook with indignation as we witnessed me, a black Kenyan woman, being showered with insults in English and Swahili. Yet, the white American man also in attendance experienced an inexplicably softer approach, being spoken to with courtesy and decency.

When we shared this outrageous episode with locals, their laughter and the phrase “Welcome to Kenya” haunted us. Such normalization of deplorable conduct is a betrayal of our nation’s potential.

No Scanner, No Transparency

In an era where technological advancements are supposed to make life simpler, the absence of a scanner at this supposed ‘customs government office’ was confounding. According to African Technology Policy Studies Network, many government offices still lack “modern technology to effectively deliver public services.” This archaic system not only lacks efficiency but also denies dignity, especially to those who are systematically oppressed.

Dismissing Accountability

Human Rights Watch’s 2022 report states, “The police and other authorities have frequently failed to investigate abuses adequately.” Our shaking hands reached out to file a formal complaint, only to be dismissively told, “There’s no need for all that.” Our resolve stiffened; we wouldn’t leave until our voices were formally heard.

The Unseen Scars

Amid this agonizing experience, the traumatized eyes of three children under the age of 5 bore witness. The ordeal didn’t just tax our packages; it levied an emotional toll on our most innocent.

A Royal Contrast

As we share this harrowing experience, we acknowledge that the King and Queen of England arrive in Kenya. The reception they will receive will undoubtedly be worlds apart from the experiences many Kenyans face daily. It serves as a poignant reminder that respect and dignity in this country often wear a selective mask.

Call to Action

If this gut-wrenching narrative has lit a fire within you, then it has served its purpose. Injustice flourishes in the dark corners of complacency. We cannot be bystanders any longer.

For those hesitant to engage directly with the government, consider sharing this article far and wide. Support local homeschooling initiatives that offer an alternative to systemic issues in education. Speak to your community leaders, stand against the normalization of this deplorable conduct.

For the brave among you, take it a step further.

Contact the customs division of KRA at:

Email: customsemail@kra.go.ke | callcentre@kra.go.ke

Phone: +254 2031 0900 | +254 20 281 0000 | + 254 20 4 999 9999 | + 254 711 099 999

Address: P.O.BOX 48240 – 00100 GPO Nairobi, Kenya

You can also head over to the post office itself, located at:

City Square Post Office in Haile Selassie Avenue, 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Demand transparency, demand basic technological tools like a package scanner, and, most importantly, demand respect for all Kenyans.

It’s time to redefine the phrase “Welcome to Kenya” for the better. Every letter, every call, every share, and every conversation counts. Silence is compliance; let your voice be heard.

© 2023 The Cole Kids Academy LTD. All rights reserved.


“Global Corruption Barometer — Africa 2019.” Transparency International, 2019.

“World Report 2022: Rights Trends in Kenya.” Human Rights Watch, 2022.

“Lack of Modern Technology in Government Offices.” African Technology Policy Studies Network, 2021.