A Brief Glance at Nairobi, Kenya - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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A Brief Glance at Nairobi, Kenya

Author:

Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.

Coming Home From Kenya

The green-tinted trail from the monitor,

Signals the ending of my journey.

I am at an altitude of 40,000 feet,

And the ride is free from turbulence.



After three months, I am glad to be heading home.

A child cries some thirty metres away,

While passengers remain immerse,

In their own unique reflections.


A translucent blue of vastness,

Peeps through the see-through windows,

Blossoming in my aisle like sunflowers.

Across the Tannoy, the good news resonate.


We are approaching Heathrow,

And the weather is fine.

a-brief-glance-at-nairobi-kenya

I touched down on Kenyan soil on Friday the 6th April 2018. It was a cool but pleasant morning and I had no problems with Kenyan Airways, neither with the Airport Taxi service that took me to the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) Central, on State House Road, Nairobi. Taxi prices differ, but on average, it seems that $20.00 is a decent price for travelling about 25 Kilometres or fourteen miles to town. I was satisfied.

Today, Friday 7th July, some three months later and four days post my return to London, I am somewhat tired and so taking things easy and leisurely at home.

Nairobi is a buzzing City, somewhat small and overcrowded, particularly so in the rush hour periods. Many of its workers use cheap City Hoppas called Matatus (mini-vans), for getting to and into the peripheral places and plazas around the perimeter of the city. Some roads and roundabouts can do with a little bit of upgrading to encourage safer and freer flow.

Still, the City has developed a lot and there are many decent buildings and several financial and other assets, located in and just outside Nairobi. Its people are usually quite friendly, and I found them decent and pleasant in conversation. They presented with kindness and courtesy whenever or wherever a situation arose, if they needed to be so. The spirit of Karibu (welcome) seems very ingrained in their nature.

There are a variety of foods but not too much if you are vegetarian. One needs to put some different foods together, unless you are in an Ethiopian restaurant or one of the very few vegetarian restaurants such as is found in Diamond Plaza.

a-brief-glance-at-nairobi-kenya

There are many beautiful Malls or Plazas just five to ten Kilometres ride outside the City Centre, and one can go there quite easily with Matatus for about 10 to 50 Kshs. There is the famous Sarit Centre, Westgate and UKay Centre in Westlands; Lavington Mall in Lavington, Diamond Plaza and Thika Road Mall, the latter owned by a father and son (50%) and a small family (50%). There is also Village Market, Junction Mall and a few more. Cost of living is cheaper in the City and more expensive at the popular Malls.

The Country uses the Kenyan shilling (Kshs), but other major currencies, in particular the U.S. dollar is welcome. Many banks and Forex Bureau’s will assist you, but there is also the M-pesa, a new way of transaction, which is encouraged a lot in some Malls and restaurants. See note on M-pesa at the end.

I spent my time there giving classes to include speaking and practical sessions on the life of Yoga Philosophy, essentially the spiritual life. I spoke to about two hundred people over some twenty-five Seminars and workshops. The classes were quite successful in the sense of planting seeds, for a 'moment' soon to come.

The crowd varied from two to over sixty, especially in Pumwani, where I also spoke to kids literally living on the streets. (For God’s own reasons, the benefit system there does not appear to be any way near as affluent as Europe). Overall, my class attendance varied, on average, from about seven to thirteen people per session.

This was my fifth or sixth visit and I did not do the tourist thing this time. I stayed mostly at the YMCA when I was not moving around, but the Terrace area and swimming pool at the back are extremely beautiful. The climate varies from cool at mornings to sunny during the day and cool again from late afternoon. July is one of their coldest months.

YMCA terrace view, Nairobi

YMCA terrace view, Nairobi

This has been very beneficial to the lush vegetation, the flora and fauna … the verdant hue of the trees and foliage, of the terrace’s and surrounding environment at the back. Birds, probably starlings, sing and dance quite frequently among the trees and one can see an excellent blue sky, whenever the sun is radiant and serene.

Kenya has a much younger population than most countries, and Nairobi boast something like 80, 000 students in its university campuses. The youth there are culturally and financial aware of government spending, and share an acute understanding of politics, greed and corruption. This manifests quite powerfully in their art and culture. Religion is popular and a scriptural word or two creeps up in their performances often.

Overall, it was a good experience. I had few worries, although the food became dull from the constant taking of breakfast in one place and the unfortunate problem with my tooth, which had to be extracted. There are many weekend Seminars and services at the YMCA and the place is anything but dull. They sport a Gym as well as the pool mentioned and have three meeting rooms and one Chapel.

They host athletes and refugees, which are very well treated and cared for, until a destination can be found. Therefore, people from Somalia, Congo, Gabon and Ethiopia serve only to inspire and remind me, of how we in the West are quite fortunate. The gap between the rich and poor, are sometimes quite noticeable, but the Kenyan by nature, has a very remarkable and resilient Spirit.

So jumbo (hello) Kenya. It’s goodbye, for now. God’s willing, I will see you again, Akuna Matata (No problems). Until, Asante Sana! Thank you so much!


Nairobi City building

Nairobi City building

Note: 100Kshs = $1.00

“M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. It has since expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India and in 2014 to Romania and in 2015 to Albania. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with a mobile device.” (Taken from the Internet)

“In Kenya and neighbouring nations, matatu (or matatus) are privately owned minibuses, although pick-up trucks and estate cars were in the past pressed into service as these East African share taxis.[1] Often decorated, many matatu feature portraits of famous people or slogans and sayings.[2] Likewise, the music they play is also aimed at quickly attracting riders.[3]

Although their origins can be traced back to the 1960s, matatu saw growth in Kenya in the 1980s and 1990s, and by the early 2000s, the archetypal form was a (gaily-decorated) Japanese microvan.[4] C. 2015, larger, bus-sized vehicles also started to be pressed into service as matatu.” More interesting info in Wikipedia.com

Nairobi City

© 2018 manatita44

Comments

manatita44 (author) from london on September 06, 2018:

Patricia,

I must have missed you! Don't see my response. Thank you for your kind response. So sorry about the delay. Much Love, my Friend.

manatita44 (author) from london on September 06, 2018:

Yes, I agree. It is the West that does that. At the recent World Cup, many English natives were saying that they were surprised how nice the Russians were.

I hear only bad news about Burundi and Ruanda. I picked up a Lonely Planet guide only to find out the same historical problem. That it is the Europeans that started it. In this case, it was the Belgians and Germans for political and economical interests.

Our world is progressing and humans are slowly becoming more savvy. I take it that you are Kenyan or African. I have been there many times and my experiences have been mostly great ones. Thank you for your kind comment.

N.B. Yes, Nairobi is an upcoming and buzzing city.

ziyena from the United States on September 06, 2018:

Most of the time when we read about Africa - most of us see the desolation in so many countries within the continent - sometimes we are plagued with stereotypes and always expect to read or see the worst conditions. I loved the fact that you presented us with a fresh and modern take - a positive approach to an evolving Nairobi - looks and sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Thank You

manatita44 (author) from london on July 17, 2018:

Well Dana.

It is good to see some places. The Phillipine beaches; k'waii; Bali; Cambodia ...

I have travelled about 300 times!

My intinerary was nearly always filled with service, so yes, it helps the blessedness of the soul.

Thank you so much!!

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 17, 2018:

I would love to get to a point in my life where I could travel and see the world. I truly believe one cannot appreciate the true beauty of life, or even the blessedness of their own circumstances, unless they venture out of their comfort zone. Beautiful and bold colorful pictures.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 13, 2018:

Yes. There are some Sikhs there. Some travelled on my flight. All in white including turbans. I believe the Birmingham group dresses that way. Thank you so much!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 13, 2018:

Nairobi looks a great place! I remember many of my Gujarati school friends were from Kenya, especially Nairobi. I'd certainly love to visit it.

Good to see your visit was fruitful. Take care, my friend.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 12, 2018:

Thanks Frank.

Just saw your note. Appreciations.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 12, 2018:

Thank you, Patricia.

This is a very lovely and heartfelt contribution. Appreciated.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 12, 2018:

this following passage touched a cord with me....sometimes it is so good for us to travel to really appreciate others and to appreciate what we sometimes take for granted. I would be thrilled one day to travel there. " Therefore, people from Somalia, Congo, Gabon and Ethiopia serve only to inspire and remind me, of how we in the West are quite fortunate. The gap between the rich and poor, are sometimes quite noticeable, but the Kenyan by nature, has a very remarkable and resilient Spirit."

very interesting...I hope you have found relief from your tooth issues. Angels are on the way ps

manatita44 (author) from london on July 11, 2018:

Thank you Shauna. Appreciated.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 11, 2018:

Sounds like you had an interesting and inspiring visit, Manatita. Welcome home!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 10, 2018:

Mantita so many amazing places in this world... and you really gave it the justice it deserved with your play by play.. thank you so much for sharing

Li-Jen Hew on July 10, 2018:

I see, I see. My hair grew longer and trimmed, that's all. Thanks!

manatita44 (author) from london on July 10, 2018:

Haha. I look at you visualĺy, Li-Jen, but I assess intuitively, with the Heart. So I see your inner beauty also.

Li-Jen Hew on July 10, 2018:

Haha thanks Manatita. I trust your approval since you are a visual person.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 09, 2018:

Good morning Li-Jen.

Nice colours! Maybe a hairstyle change too? You look great!

Yes, I like the poem too and may read it out tonight. Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

Li-Jen Hew on July 09, 2018:

Hey Manatita. Welcome back home and I hope vegetarian food is easier to find in London! Matatu in Kenya should be more fun compared to taxis.

I like how your poem makes me feel like I'm on a plane. I wanna ride one too. A crying baby although crying sounds good in the poem. It's the realness of it that I like instead of a fantasy like ride.

Thanks for your comment on the soulful offering. I miss you too and the rest. I enjoy your manner of teaching, the simpleness of explanations with a somehow poetic touch.

Your Yoga Philosophy talks, they are beneficial for sure. I'm sure you give easy to understand teachings. All the best and have fun.

See ya! :)

manatita44 (author) from london on July 09, 2018:

Mary,

I'm coming back to you. The sweetest thing that you or anyone has said to me, is that they wish to be in my workshop. Usually, the views, are opposite. Those who who live in the Heart, who want to become servants to alleviate God's burden, are a victory for the Supreme … for their own peace of being. God bless your noble soul and Spirit. God bless your family.

Thank you Chitrangada. There are many Indians in some parts. They speak Kiswahili and have become part of the establishment.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 09, 2018:

I have never been to this part of the World, therefore thanks a lot for introducing me to this lovely place. The video of Nairobi city looks great.

Nice poem and wonderful information about your Kenya trip.

Take care and thanks!

manatita44 (author) from london on July 09, 2018:

You, Rinita,

Are doing what I believe most of us here appreciate... people giving an honest appraisal of our work. Note I did not say positive, that would be a bonus, but an honest appraisal is cool. You had an eye for the poetry as well as the prose, I respect this highly.

Writers spend a lot of time on putting something together and I generally try to reflect this in my appreciations, except I do not say much for some particular reason.

I feel sad when friends tell me that they are just passing to say hello, or tell me about something with no relevance to my work. Usually nice things, but I feel that if they are coming here, then they should also add something about the work. All the comments here are 'cool', by the way.

So you have my gratitude, Rinita …your love for my work is noted. God bless your noble Heart.

Rinita Sen on July 09, 2018:

First of all, the poem on the airplane landing at Heathrow was brilliant. It quietly and effectively described the feeling of coming back home. I am sure it is relevant to everyone, they just have to change the name of the airport.

Second of all, it was great learning about Nairobi. I have a few acquaintances there, and I have heard it is a fast growing city. Sorry about your tooth extraction, though. There are very few experiences that are more horrible than an extraction, I feel!

Finally, thank you for sharing, Manatita.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 07, 2018:

Thank you Ioannis.

Appreciated this. Yes, we try to sow seeds which are taking root and will grow one day. A small act of service to our fellow brorhers and sisters.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on July 07, 2018:

Thank you, my Brother, for that little "trip" in Kenya through your article. I am happy because those people met you and had the chance to hear your words. As a true Lantern Carrier, you have to travel, and I know that it has a lot of difficulties among the blessings.

I wish you to find time for your books because this will be one more way of serving.

Gratitude for helping my Kenyan Brothers!

Sean

manatita44 (author) from london on July 06, 2018:

Yes Mary. We are in a few places in Canada. We are only 8000 strong but you will find us in many countries.

Yes. Be nice to you. You deserve a well earned break. At 66 and 3 months away, I came back to find that my job was taken. So I am resting for now.

Tim,

Yes. I do not do too much negative but Kenya is not really bad at all. They tend to be turbulent at elections, then settle down.

Well Earth can be trying but it is still a beautiful place. Yes. We will all soar some day. I wish you God speed.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 06, 2018:

Wonderful article about Nairobi, Manatita. I also liked the free flowing poem at the beginning. Great information at the end of the article about the electronic transfer system.

I'm glad you were able to reach some souls and have a wonderful trip.

Welcome home to the West, but I noticed from your poem's perspective: a recognition that we are all bound to soar some day. In that way, I suspect Manatita probably calls most places on this earth a beautiful temporary dwelling.

Much respect, Brother,

Sincerely,

Tim

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 06, 2018:

I will as in we stay in Toronto in the winter. Our first time as we used to go and work abroad but we finally said it is over so I will do it.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 06, 2018:

So Sweet of you, Mary.

Ioannis Arvanitis (Sean Dragon), has started interviewing me on spiritual philosophy. He seems to ask only the deep questions, but there is enough there to interest you. So far he has published 4 parts. Check him out.

Of course in my sessions I add singing, visualisations, mantras ... concentration exercises to calm the mind, so as to facilitate or aid Meditation.

Thanks so much for your interest. We have Sri Chimoy Centres in Ontario. Google them or come back to me. There is a Sri Chimoy Centres Directory. Much Love.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 06, 2018:

Africa in general likes meat. I suppose we in the West too, but a few vegans, animal rights activists and diseases, have heped us considerably.

Africa is generally sunny and has tons of fruits and vegetables. They also use them a lot but meat or fish is generally mixed in.It is associated with strength!

The university is in the right place, I suppose. I have the statistics on ageing but it's not with me. I'm on a coach/bus to Birmingham.

Would be interesting to look into it. The youth have a 2063 Agenda to make Kenya great. It provides for interesting reading.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 06, 2018:

Good morning Manatita. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Kenya is one place I am almost certain I will never have an opportunity to visit. I am glad that you were so well received; it sounds that (except for dining and that pesky tooth) you had a very pleasant stay.

Why is the population generally younger than in other nations? It is because of the presence of the university? And, you have me curious about the food. If not vegetarian, what is available?

Welcome home.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 06, 2018:

I have friends in kenya whom I want to visit one day. My husband has worked there. It is good to see that development is taking place. I wish to be in one of the workshops you give.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 06, 2018:

Stones from food, Alicia.

A deja vu problem. I experienced this on a plane just before I landed in Ghana 2013. Olive seeds hidden in the meal.

This time there were small stones in the lentils and rice.

I suffered with much pain post extraction. Another story. Thanks for your concern.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 06, 2018:

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Manatita. It was very interesting to read about life in Kenya. I'm sorry about your tooth problem.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 06, 2018:

Thanks Bill.

A pleasure to serve in that way. Maybe you can put it on your list, eh?

A pretty big world all right. Peace, Bro.

manatita44 (author) from london on July 06, 2018:

Well, it is!

The green foliage and swimming pool are extra bonuses. Thanks Eric.

Hi Peggy,

Thanks a lot! There were American tourists and volunteers at my hostel. Many Germans too. All volunteering and going to the slum areas. See you there next year.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 06, 2018:

It is a big world, my friend, and I see it through your eyes, and the eyes of other writers like you. Thank you for taking me along on this journey. Peace always!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 06, 2018:

Excellent. You make me want to go there for a visit. That YMCA is very nice. We do not have them like that here.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2018:

Thanks for telling us about your impressions of Nairobi and the people as well as the place you stayed. They sound like lovely welcoming people. I am sure that they enjoyed your classes. It is a shame that you had a tooth that gave you problems while there. That video at the end was well worth watching for those of us who have never been to Nairobi. Enjoy your rest and return to London.