Teaching at Anno’s Africa in Kibera and preparing for our gala took up most of our time in Nairobi. I didn’t know what to expect from Nairobi, as most tourists fly into the capital only on the way to somewhere else. They don’t spend anytime in the city with a bad reputation for corruption and crime (we had to go through security to even go to a grocery store), and where even locals will tell you there is nothing to do. But while I found the traffic, roads, pollution and hot water in the showers to be challenging, I felt the pulse of Nairobi to be thriving. People have an entrepreneurial spirit that was inspiring and the rate of growth in Nairobi will be interesting to follow in the years to come. We managed to fit in several little excursions that allowed us to see a bit more of this young, energetic and bustling city.
David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
The Giraffe Center
I LOVED the Giraffe Center so much. When we arrived the warden shoved a bowl of food pellets into Kiara’s arms and said “Keep feeding her until I get back.” We had no idea when that would be! But I loved feeding my favorite giraffe, Daisy, seen here. She was kind of my giraffe soul mate. A giraffe’s tongue is 18 inches long and black! It felt so strong when she would take the food from my hand. More giraffe facts: they only sleep 2 hours a day!
Kenyatta International Convention Centre
For a bird’s eye view of Nairobi we head to KICC. They charged us a foreigner tariff which was pretty standard practice it seemed like.
Yes! Turns out Kenya has a large Indian population and this vegetarian Indian restaurant hit the spot.
Don’t worry though. We also sampled amazing Kenyan dishes that we cooked ourselves! With heavy guidance from our friend Beth who is an acrobatics teacher at Anno’s. All the teachers at Anno’s are really wonderful and we had a great time have dinners with them, learning about the role of art in their own lives, and how they hoped to share it with the kids in poor communities throughout Kenya.
Nairobi National Park
The only national park in the world set within the confines of the city! As in there are lions just roaming through the capital. We didn’t venture far enough into the park to see any animals (besides giraffes) but we went on a nice little trail.
We got around Nairobi mostly in Ubers and wow. Uber drivers in Kenya are INTERESTING. There wasn’t a single Uber drive that I didn’t learn something from about Kenyan music, history, geography, politics, economics, tribal tensions, Swahili language, how to live a good life, or dating patterns of Somali Muslims. I could get a whole education just by taking Ubers in Kenya!
In general, we spent a lot of time in traffic. Like, a lot. But there was always something fascinating to look at. As one person said, life is lived on the sides of the road in Kenya. People are selling things, from furniture to corn to witch potions, everywhere you look. I even looked on as we actively got rear-ended by a bus. Nothing to do about it but wave and carry on.