My Nairobi is a woman, because it’s a complex city, its mean and kind in the same breath; its happy and forlorn at the same time; it will give you hope and crash it in the next instant; it will chew you and spit you aside, but it will also nurture you. Like a woman whom you can’t figure out, can never understand, but nevertheless love very much, that is my Nairobi.
Follow the road and get swallowed into the bowels of Nairobi City. Share your experiences.
A while back, some three years ago, I had just come back from Naivasha and the matatu deposited me at the stage which is at the junction of Ronald Ngala Street and River Road. I was feeling funky, rock music blasting through my earphones, and walking along Ronald Ngala St. to my Kahawa Stage. I noticed a matatu conductor shouting at me but I thought he wanted me to get into his matatu and I ignored him, only for me to turn and find some street urchin who had followed me had opened my bag (while I listened to music) and gone with my wallet. The matatu conductor was kind enough to let me go home without paying fare, because I didn’t have any. Since that day, I don’t walk in the streets of Nairobi with earphones on. This is just one example of how people in Nairobi can be; on one side someone robbed me, on the other side the matatu conductor was kind enough to offer me a ride home.
Another time, I dropped a thousand-shilling note in a cyber cafe, only to arrive in the matatu and find I had no fare. This time, two well-meaning strangers offered to pay for me, and since both had already removed the Ksh. 100 notes from their pockets, the one who hadn’t given the conductor the money offered it to me instead. I was a broke student then and was oh so grateful.
In Nairobi, I have met many types of people; the truly rich, the newly rich who flaunt their money, the middle class, the poor, the happy, the sad, the property owners and the homeless (whom we avoid touching in the streets). I have met them all and loved many, hated a few and indifferent to most.
I love Nairobi and it will be home for me, and when I do fly out of its nest to test the waters of the world, I know I will be back.