Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Settling into Nairobi life

It’s now Sunday evening and I’ve just finished a big dinner of rice and veggies that Nicole and I cooked – our first attempt at cooking in our new home. So that’s another first out of the way. Rather than having a day of church and rest, as most Kenyans do on a Sunday, we got up super early for a day of shopping and reconnaissance. We met at 8am at a fruit stand just outside of Mountain View and got the bus into town. Mountain View is serviced by the rather swish Starbus service. Here in Nairobi the different bus routes are run by different bus companies which can identified not only by the different numbers on the buses but also the different colours and designs on the buses. It was just sheer luck (and perhaps some serendipity) that I know live along the Starbus route, a bus that is literally covered in stars.

So our first stop on our day of exploring was Riverside Drive to try to figure out where Nicole’s office was. Nicole will be working for I Choose Life Africa which is an organisation which runs Peer Mentoring Schemes in Universities and High Schools to raise awareness and to teach strategies to deal with issues of HIV/AIDS. Once our mission was accomplished (we even took a cheeky photo much to the amusement or bemusement of the security guard on duty) we headed into town for our next assignment – figure how where I get a matatu to work from. Matatus are… matatus are … They’re sort of hard to describe without seeming them in the flesh. They are essentially Hi-Ace vans used as mini-buses. They run on the many of the same routes as buses do, and many more besides. They usually have about 9 or 10 seats but they rarely depart with less than 12 people. They are not quite as colourful as the buses on the outside but every square inch of the interior is usually decorated, whether it’s with pictures of rappers, bible psalms, or both. So getting back to Sunday morning, we found our way to the main matatu stage downtown and spoke to some conductors there who helpfully informed me that the 106 matatu would bring me to the UN complex.

2nd mission completed Nicole and I stopped for a big dirty breakfast before tackling our 3rd assignment, homewares shopping. Between us we needed to buy lamps, lampshade, blue tack, bin bags and lots of random things in between. We trekked across for a good few hours, stopping only briefly for coffee and cake and called a taxi at around 3pm laden down with all sorts of things to make our rooms more homely.

So my room is now definitely feeling more my own. I’ll post pictures of both my room and the house in the next day or two so you can judge for yourselves. Oh and I’ve just been informed that we have some spare mattresses so there is *plenty* of space for people to stay over. Ahem. Get looking into flights people. Ahem.

I had great intentions of using this blog as a place to talk about some of the wider socio-economic problems facing Kenya, the political machinations of its parliament and government but I haven’t been here long enough to even contemplating trying to talking about these things yet. I am trying to talk to lots of people here about these issues, and my aim is to read the newspaper every day on my way to work so hopefully I’ll become au fait with these things in time.

Ok, this is another short post but look forward to updates about work (finally, you cry!) next time I’m online.

1 comment:

  1. I love the way you keep mentioning the 'space' for visitors. Hint hint nudge nudge!x