Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2: First day out in Nairobi

The day started out by a delicious breakfast at the Heron Hotel which consisted of a choice of chapatti (similar to a tortilla), plantains, beans, meat, samosas, cereal, fresh papaya, oranges, pineapple, and fresh juices.

We then began our day by driving to a view point of the biggest slum village not just in Nairobi, but in Kenya called Kibera. Kibera houses approximately “2.5 million slum dwellers in about 200 settlements in Nairobi representing 60% of the Nairobi population, occupying just 6% of the land. Kibera houses almost 1 Million of these people. Kibera is the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. The average size of shack in this area is 12ft x 12ft built with mud walls, screened with concrete, a corrugated tin roof, dirt or concrete floor. The cost is about Ksh 700 per Month (£6). These shacks often house up to 8 or more, many sleeping on the floor” (http://www.kibera.org.uk/Facts.html). It was very interesting to see residents walking in and out of the area from our viewpoint, which was located on a top of a hill along a major roadway.

We then traveled to a more developed area of Nairobi and were able to get a sense of what their “downtown” area is like. Many of the government building and ministry buildings are all located on the same streets in the city with surrounding businesses and high-rise buildings. It was definitely a contrast to be able to see the slum village and the more developed area of Nairobi.

After our city tour, we visited a local mall in Nairobi. We stopped at the mall for lunch at the Art Cafe as well as to stock up on food and other supplies at the Nakumatt, which can be compared to our local Walmart in the United States. The mall was more on the high-end side compared to other shopping areas we saw in Nairobi.

We then visited the Nairobi National Museum. “Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre accessible both by public and private means. Built in 1929, this is the flagship museum for the National Museums of Kenya, housing celebrated collections of Kenya's History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art. The Museum aims to interpret Kenya's rich heritage and offers a one stop for visitors to sample the country's rich heritage both for education and leisure. In addition to the museum, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment” (http://www.museums.or.ke/content/blogcategory/11/17/).

After our city tour, we returned to the hotel to rest for a few hours, then headed out for dinner. A group of us traveled to the city and had traditional Kenyan food for the first time. I ordered githeri, which was a mixture of beans, maize (corn/hominy), vegetables and chapatti, which was delicious! Today really introduced us to the lifestyle of the Kenyan people and brought light to the culture of Kenya. I am looking forward to our following days in Nairobi as well as in Daraja.

-Annie

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