Wednesday, 6 August 2014


Rashma and I left the community on the 5th and took off to Nairobi on a Each Coach. Easy Coach is quite comfortable and safe because it goes directly to Nairobi without accepting new customers on the streets.  We got off the bus at this sketch junction to wait for our host family. Scott, a UBC commerce student who we met at Masai Maara, is working in Nairobi for the summer and he found us a place to stay.  We were continuously asked by many creepy mutatu dudes if we needed a ride and finally after about 40 minutes, Anne, the host mother showed up.  We got in her car and was taken to her house.  When we walked in, we were shocked.  We lived in a village  for 7 weeks where houses were mostly made of the mud and dung mixture. There was no electricity, water had to be carried from far away and being clean was a luxury. This house in Nairobi, was fancy with a flat screen TV, an enormous kitchen,  and.. a servant.  

Whoa. Talk about economic disparity.

Apparently, the husband is a senator or something… The first thing that went through our headss.. politicians= corruption (?) The youngest child of this family, Phil, was 3 and he was playing with a tablet.  This made me slightly sad because it made me think of Dadi and his shoeless dirty feet and his worn clothes.  Phil also spoke more English than Dadi who is 9.  I think people in Nairobi speak better English in general, possibly because they are not surrounded by their own tribe all the time. One thing that is obvious in Nairobi is that rich are definitely rich and poor are poor which is what you often see in developing countries.

Extravagant interior

Phil, smiling with his tablet

Kibera was one place I wanted to visit the most.  We had to get a guide because of safety issues and he took us around the safer parts of Kibera.  He said Kibera is the 2nd largest slum in Africa.  It had garbage everywhere, and people did not look as happy as the villagers we lived with.  The little kid I ran into had suspicion and sadness in her eyes and people did not like getting their photos taken in this area.  Of course I asked politely if I was able to beforehand.  Our guide, David, told us that people are being evicted from Kibera because the government is building new apartments in the area.  My first question was... where are all these people going to go?  When I came home, I watched a short documentary which showed eviction to be a common problem within the slums.  It's extremely sad and unfortunate that this is happening.  I am glad there is someone within the slums fighting for his and the community's rights.  

I am not sure why garbage is not disposed by burning it. Can anyone tell me why this is happening?

You can see the new houses in the back

 This kid was so surprised to see me.  She ran over with curiosity/ suspicion in her eyes. I took a photo of her and showed it to her and that's when she smiled. 

This man was not happy that I took a photo of him..He had his back against the camera and I was hoping not to get his face but he turned around when I took the photo.

 Chapati man

We were randomly invited into Julie’s Hope Children House in Kibera; Benta who is from the Luo Tribe (we were sad that we can’t speak Luo anymore, but we got to speak with her) said HIV/ AIDS rate in Kibera is ¾. That's a horrendous number and I wondered if there were active NGOs in this area working on this issue.  Education is definitely needed.  

David, our guide, is from the Kikuyu tribe and he seemed very uncomfortable talking to Benta and just being surrounded by Luos.  Maybe he thought we didn't have much time but he really rushed us out of there.  He may have felt uncomfortable due to the political crisis that occurred in 2007 where many Luos ended up killing Kikuyus after the 2007 elections. According to Wikipedia, approximately 800-1500 people died.  David was showing us which houses near the slum were burnt down by the Luo people during the crisis. After touring Kibera, we went into the city centre.  

People were definitely less friendly, dressed well, and their skin colour was lighter.  It was shocking to see so many people in one area (even though I am from a city), and traffic jam was an odd experience.  Nairobi is a busy city and people don’t care if I am mzungu/ Chinese and they just continue on with their day.  

In the central area, we wanted to know if Starbucks has invaded Africa as well so we asked David if Starbucks existed in Kenya.  He said "of course" and he took us in that direction.  When we got there, he showed us this bus with a sign that said "Star bus".  Rashma and I politely smiled and moved on but inside, we were laughing hysterically.  

There wasn't much to see in the city.  It's just a big area with busy people but I am glad we came here to just experience what the biggest city in Kenya looks like. People say Nairobi is a dangerous place but we didn't feel insecure at any time of the day.  

When we got back to the house, the host dad was already home.  We talked about Kenyan runners, and our travel plans.  The host dad was trying to call Rashma but he accidentally called her "Deepika" while watching TV.  I laughed my head off.  Of course he picked the most stereotypical Indian name to call her (she is not even Indian).  

We are off to Tanzania tomorrow.  Our adventures are not over yet but it feels like we're leaving our home country and leaving our family behind.  


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