As a begin to pack my things and prepare for the journey home, I have been reflecting about the things I like about Nairobi. The truth is, it’s a hard place to love. With a nickname like, “Nairobbery” you are constantly on the lookout. The upcoming election brings fear of the reoccurring violence Kenyan elections are known for. Luxury weekend getaways such as Mombasa and Lamu have become notorious unsafe places for travelers. The city is filthy and littered with garbage and holds the absolute worst traffic known to man. Despite all this, I have found things that I really love about this place…
- Mangos are not seasonal, in fact they are good all the time. Once you get the hang of how to cut into them, you are golden.
- Every ex-patriot wants to be your friend. They have all been there – in a foreign place where they know no one – it’s like a secret society where everyone is nice. I love it. They all have connections all over the world too, so they say things like, “if you ever go to…call me and I’ll have my friend show you around”. So in return to you friendly people – call me if you come to Seattle.
- I have met more people from more different places in the last three months than I have my entire life. Here are the origins, from what I can remember, of the people I’ve met here (I’m sure I’m forgetting some):
- Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Poland, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania, Spain, Ireland, New York, California, Tennessee, Sweden, Japan, Virginia, Austria, Germany, France, Zambia, Namibia and Rwanda
- Outside of the city, it’s really beautiful. You see more exotic (and some not-so-exotic) animals than you can in a zoo. Let me see if I can name all the ones I’ve seen:
- Elephants, Rhinos, Flamingos, Monkeys, Baboons, Zebras, Antelope, Gazelles, Geckos (in my house!), Ostriches, Horses, Camels, Lizards, Giraffes, Cows, Cats, Dogs, Chickens, Goats and Donkeys
- A lot of things you can buy are benefitting something. For example:
- The bag I referred to in the What’s Not to LOVE? post I did last week gives proceeds back to the fishermen and their community in Lamu, Kenya.
- Kenana Knitter Critter creates charming designs using all-natural homespun wool bought from local Kenyan women. Money earned by Kenana Knitters goes directly to the women who are able to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families through knitting adorable critters such as this owl-
- Pendeza Weaving is a company that uses handspun yarn from locally grown organic cotton, sheared wool and silk to create amazing textiles. Purchasing their products supports the Pendeza Weaving Project which helps to keep a child free from malnutrition, enable a child access education, enable the girl child access sanitary towels, enable a family access to clean drinking water, enable those living with HIV/AIDS access proper nutrition to boost their immunity, save the environment and decrease global warming and provide descent housing to the destitute community members of rural Bondo.
- Proceeds from Mara wine go helping Kenyan women provide food, shelter and education to their families. Proceeds can also help support their entrepreneurships.
- There are some truly unique and fantastic gates and driveway entries around.
- They have the highest quality coffee company – Dormans Coffee – in the world…though I might be bias!
- Chai tea. To follow up on the recipe from Chai on my Mind posted a couple months ago, I’ve learned that for the extra chai kick to your tea to add cinnamon and cardamon.
- Stoney soda. It’s a ginger soda with a zing! Delicious!
- Did I mention charming co-workers who bring me bananas?
There are lots of things I really like about Nairobi and the above only scratches the surface.