I am a small town girl, hard to believe right? Thanks to my lisp accent I sound Nairobian. I have lived my entire life in the land of milk and running Eldoret, the peaceful serenity of Kitale and the wannabe streets of Kisumu. Nairobi was a town on my way to Mombasa or Mlolongo where my brother resides. Time does change people. I swore my whole life that I’d never live in the capital because I had gotten so used to the easy, cheap and bustle free life in tiny towns. I never knew, this would be my final destination. Well, there are a lot of things I have learned being a village girl in the city. If you are planning to move here, this might help.
It’s Never Too Late
My parents call worried sick every time I tell them I am still up to the hustle in town at 8:00pm. In Nairobi, anytime after 9:00pm is normal time to get home. In fact, if you are home by 7, it’s just weird. In our laid back home towns, if you are not home by dark, we assume you are having one for the road or you got mugged. (LoL) In the city, I’m not home and it’s headed to midnight but apparently I am not at the club neither have I been attacked, I’m just on my way home.
Go Back to Driving School
The roads in Nairobi literally look like that board in driving school. Considering I went to driving school five years ago, do you still use that board? (Hahaha) In small towns, at most two lanes and you can always see the road ahead of you. Driving in the city is hell. The few times I was driving I called on Buddha, Krishna, Allah and Jesus especially when I was next to a matatu. The car was also my boss’ car so if I got a scratch on it, I’d have to deal with hell again. Matatus here are not polite like in Eldoret, back home even a cyclist rings and the matatu halts. If you are to take a turn say from my place at Mountain View on Waiyaki Way, you have to go all the way to Uthiru to turn back to town. Somehow it is actually easier and faster to get around using PSVs than with a personal vehicle; but for convenience purposes, just budget for a car, they are not so expensive nowadays. You have to worry more about parking though.
The Faster The Better
I am grateful for being a quick foot; these streets do not want slow people. I like my grasp technique too; I learned the city in a week’s time. I got to places people who have lived in Nairobi for ages have not been to, courtesy of looking for a house. Anyway, if you are fast, it is not easy for pick pockets to open your back pack and it also makes you keep up with the pace in town. In Nairobi everyone is always in a hurry, I don’t know to where. My brother says if you walk fast you look certain so conmen don’t bother trying to distract you. I have no idea how true that is.
It’s a Cruel Town, IssaLie
We small town people have been convinced that Nairobi is full of conmen and frauds stationed everywhere just waiting to steal from you. We have been made to believe that you can’t trust a single person on the street. You can’t ask for directions from just anyone, you have to hold your bag tight all the time. My people back home, this is a lie. People are friendly and really willing to help. Of course there are a few shrewd characters that I have not even come across ever since. Here touts, bodabodas, fruit vendors, watchmen no one minds just pointing you towards where Archives is; and when you are boarding a matatu to a place you do not know, trust the tout to remind you. Nairobi has humans, you can’t even compare city people to those Bodaboda people at Kisumu United mall who always want to extort, make fun and harass visitors in the city. Random people in the bus also don’t mind reminding you where you are supposed to alight. If you come visiting, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Don’t believe everything you hear on Churchill Show too, they made so much fun of Kinoo I thought I’d get mugged the minute I alighted but apparently it’s a really nice place (hahahha).
Why Are People So Lazy
I call it the matatu syndrome, why do people in Nairobi just hope onto matatus to alight at a 5 minute distance? I walk from Mountain View to Kangemi; I also do not mind the stretch from Nyayo to town. I could say it’s because of growing up in an athletic town but really people. Sometimes with traffic, it takes you a shorter time on foot. My friend would tell me ‘pesa yetu haijaisha’ (LoL) I give up on Nairobi people. I am catching it too because sometimes I do not want to alight at Fire Station because I’m thinking why should I walk this distance when the bus will drop me at Archives even if I have to wait in traffic. This is not good my people, let’s try and exercise a little more.
Teenagers are Homeless
You guys did not let my people prosper with Chagets, have you noticed Fashion trends in Nairobi though? At the moment, every teenager looks homeless in berets, ripped denim pants, oversized cardigans and ol’ skool rugged snickers. It’s like people make such an effort to look effortless. But Why??? Then Trends just end up looking like backfired uniforms. I am for the Natural Hair Revolution but some of the things people are now walking with on the streets, eish! I will also not leave out purple and black lipstick (Awuoro) Since Nairobi is the goddess of fashion trends for teenagers, you do not want to see the wannabes in smaller towns. It is a stage though, it will pass.
Let’s All Grow Fat in Unity
Junk is so cheap in Nairobi. You can eat fries and chicken daily and not feel the pinch. At this rate, it is even cheaper eating fries than rice now that our government has decided we will buy 2kg Unga at 130/-. There is a new joint that opened when I was moving to Nairobi in October, I was there last week and it is chromed. A fast food business in Nairobi will never fail you and with the crazy hours we get home, we’d rather a takeout than starting to cook at 10pm when we get to the house. It’s unhealthy but it is sweet, fast, easy and affordable.
It is not Pluto
Someone managed to convince everyone life in Nairobi is darn expensive. Here is the thing, you always adjust. Bus fare is fair unless you commute Town to Kitengela daily, housing pretty much depends on where you choose to stay, and most people pick some place easily accessible to their work place. Food is kawaida price, clothes are the same same including mitumba and nothing is really alien.
It is FUN FUN FUN!!!
If you are an extrovert with a little more money to spend, Nairobi has got you. Reggae Mondays, Karaoke Tuesdays, Ladies’ Wednesdays, Comedy Thursdays, Thank God It’s Friday, Hangover Saturdays, Gospel Concert Sunday. If you are an art enthusiast like me, there is always something going on somewhere on weekends, a festival, a concert, auditions and so much more. Is this me marketing Nairobi and I am only five months old here? As I always say though #SolelyMyOpinion.