Nairobi


Its a city of many contrasts. With the largest population in Kenya, Nairobi is a city that will either thrill you or drive you mad. With the largest slum in Africa, Kibera, sitting near the wealth of western influence of shopping malls, cafes and gyms. Nairobi is an emerging city, but with a long road ahead. Transport alone can make anyone sit at the edge of their seat. Buses, matatu’s and taxis, cram the streets, driving in a law unto their own. Traveling is always an adventure in Nairobi. Glimpses of British colonial architecture past sit amongst a nostalgic art deco design in many of the inner city buildings. Current day Nairobi is an infusion of new sky rise buildings, temporary market style stalls, five star hotels, huge palm tree lined streets, big international brand headquarters such as HP, Epson, Orange, Coke and national multi million dollar business’ such as Safaricom, Nakumat, Banks and the tourism industry . You can buy an espresso and you can pick up a 90kg sack of red kidney beans. You can stroll through a little white tiled bookstore and you can pick up a 1000 litre water tank. You can drink chai, be hassled by safari sellers, be ripped off at a downtown Masai crafts market, go to the national museum or archives centre, walk past Parliament buildings, have an ice cream in central park, choose between 3 national newspapers, people watch in one of the many little cafes, eat a meal for few dollars, drink a Tusker (best Kenyan beer) in an upstairs bar and pick up WiFi at a local Java coffee house. I like the city and then the city does my head in. People are friendly and you never leave the city without saying hello to someone. The national psyche is to just get on with life. They talk, create stories, laugh out loud, make a scene, live to make ends meat, eat simply, buy from local growers, barter and bribe. They are animated and full of life. Life is hard here and for the most, a struggle. White people have always been seen as the money machines. We have the cash and we can afford to pay top price, every time. We are called Mzungu and we have a funny way about us. We stand out, and it doesn’t matter how long you have lived here, the same images stick as from the beginning. Its changed slowly within the community I live, Naivasha. And Ive tried to build good relationships with people there. People have a natural humor along side a strong stamina for living. I feel at home here and people are the main reason I keep doing this. You have to guard your self and keep an eye open at all times, as crime, violence, drunkenness and abuse are always a potential risk. And like any country, people can trip, manipulate and abuse you. But life is for risk, and its part of what keeps me alive.

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