Category Archives: Maisha ya Mkenya

Nairobi, Just Gets Weirder…

We all know I don’t like Nairobi, but at this point, being here for more than a day or two gets boring. Money is in short supply because we are volunteers, and lunches that normally we pay 30 or 40 shillings for in the village cost ten times that amount, at minimum… literally. Get me out.

To top it off though, it is just starting to get weird. Not everything, but specifically the hawkers. I have mentioned before that Nairobi hawkers will hawk most anything, including giant inflatable chairs and etch-a-sketch. However, I have now repeatedly walked past a group of hawkers hawking pets out of boxes. You can walk down the road leading to Westgate shopping mall and you will have the opportunity to purchase puppies, kittens, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters… out of fruit boxes. Better yet, if you live in Westlands you probably drive around in a big SUV with fancy acronyms like UNEP, UNDP, UN, WFP, DED, DRC, etc., (Peace Corps thankfully has no such labeling on it’s vehicles, much preferring a relatively inconspicuous but Kenya-mandated address stenciled on the driver side door near the tire), and these pets are all brought to your window like it’s some bizarre 50’s roller skate diner. Hamster for dinner? Don’t mind if I do!

To top it off, as we were walking, “home,” to the hotel, my friend Alex and I walked past a man hawking turtles out of a box. The price? 20,000 shillings. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Nairobi, where you can buy a $270 turtle out of a box from a guy on the side of the road.

Nanyuki tomorrow, unless these matatus stay on strike…

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Maisha ya Mkenya: Mombasa Seasons

I thought that I would kickoff the introduction of more series-based posting with a talk on the seasons here in Mombasa. Now that I have been here for almost the year, and experienced the full gamut, I feel like I can give a better impression.

First off, what are the seasons. Many people will tell you that here in Kenya we have two types of seasons: rainy seasons and dry seasons. To be specific, there are the long rains and short rains, and then the dry times in between. I have encountered many different answers when asking about the meaning of, “long,” and, “short,” rains, the two most common answers being that long and short refer to the length of time it will rain in a particular instance if it does rain, or, the length of the actual season, one being more months than the other. I have also asked what months these are and this also elicits different responses from person to person, and it seems that it varies depending on what part of the country you are from. Continue reading

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