At first I have to say, that I recommend to everyone, that do such a trip or even have a time with lot of experiences in such a sort time – do a blog or a diary! Even after this four days, I start mix up things and loose some minor memories within all the stuff going on here.
So let’s start: This morning we had to wake up early at 7:30h to have a breakfast before my two lovely hosts have appointments with their doctors. Everything in this country and every second is a experience of something new for me. It’s even so wonderful to look out the kitchen window and see the sun so bright even in the morning. I just take a step outside before the breakfast and get a sip of this wonderful air. My hosts little brother left his breakfast stuff when he went to the school. I hoped to loose a bit weight in this trip, so I was looking for the cereals, but then I saw something strange. Chocolate flavored peanut butter. Even such small things are so nice for me to experience. By the way it was tasty. I am just used to have the plain peanut butter flavor, because it’s not so common in Germany and therefore not so easy available. But move on to more interesting stuff.
Today I found out a bit about the health system and get an inside to the private health system. While on our way to the doctor, I heard about the public system which pays only a bit, and most is payed by the people. Therefore a stay, even for a single day in a hospital bed is usually not affordable for the regular people. If they are employed in a company, the company take the part which is not covered by the insurance. But the major gap is between public and private health care, which is not like in Germany in the same hospital and by the same doctor,but in very different kinds of locations. This one was like a mall where a lot of different doctors had their office in. So no hospital, but the private hospitals we past in the city look more nice then the very most hospitals in Germany. While my hosts went to dentist and regular doctor, I strolled around the place. Quite not what most people would imagine in Africa. There where also on each floor two people constantly cleaning the already mirror-like stone on the ground. Strange, but labour is cheap and service jobs are all over the place for absolute everything.
Today we went to the biggest museum in Nairobi and explored the Life in Africa there. The have Sections about the development of mankind in this very starting place of our species, about the different cultures of the tribes in Kenya, and about the Animals of Kenya. Usually they have stuffed versions of real dead animals. So the Animals on the pictures are the real ones, just died many years ago. The most amazing is a hole model of the famous Elephant Ahmed, which is kind of a national symbol. Also Elephants are the symbol of the Tusker beer, which is so famous over here. He was so famous, that the people forced the government to give him a own bodyguard, to make sure, nobody will hunt him down. The real skeleton is also in the Museum. Most interesting for me was a photo tour about modern life in Kenya, reflecting in a very modern installation like way about a big range of social realities in this country. Something I will try to experience, as much as possible in my stay.
In one of the two restaurants in the museum I had today my first traditional African meal. I shoot a short video about that, but not had time to bring it up now. So look out. To give you a clue: At first, I found out, why they have sinks in front of the restaurant or in the dinning room of my hosts house. Traditional food is still eaten with their hands. So you clean your hands properly before eating. They for sure use also knife, frock and spoon, but thats just not the real way to do it. I enjoyed so much eating with my finger. I went for a traditional cow stomach soup, which is quite similar in taste to the palatinate pig stomach, we used to eat in my part of Germany (but only there). I also shared some liver stew with Wanja. The traditional side dish or the basic of their meals (like potatoes in Germany) is a paste made of corn flour. Tasty and sweet. A bit like rice. So much for this days food section, because the rest of the day I got my meals in liquid form.
We drove up and out of the inner city and entered easily the most posh gated community in Nairobi, where all the important and rich people of this City live. I shot a view pictures their, which is not really something they like to see there, so I had to hide my camera and only could do it from the inside of the car. We even where passed by a car of a minister, which you can tell from the flag at the side. I tried to get a picture of that, but you can’t see the flag clearly. I even found out, that in this place is a embassy of the Vatican. The first Vatican embassy I ever saw. I will but up a bit of a video about that to give you a impression.
At the end of the travel in the posh area we visited the former high school of my little princess. It’s really a nice place at the corner of the very posh gated community. I even visited a very impressive catholic chapel to meditate there a bit. A really calm place. Even since I am not catholic any longer, I visit a church from time to time, and it was refreshing. When we went out then to the road and had to wait a bit before we crossed, I smelled again something in the air, which a few times in my stay here, makes this place so special to me. I thought first about a perfume, but with a look around, I just found out, that they had eucalyptus along the road. Like in Germany with trees in the summer, they cut it to have free roads. So there was the smell of fresh eucalyptus all over this place, which was a little bit magical.
Back in the city we drove a bit around to visit some malls. On our way I found out very fast, how much more religions are all over this country and how close they are together. In Germany, I believe, is the identity of the people much more derived from the religion. Even if the believe in religions is in general not so strong than here. In Africa the people get their identity more strong from their clan or tribe background and divide people from by that difference. Therefore it’s not so a big problem to have a lot of religions in the country, but more of a problem are the different ethnicities.
We passed by one of the first malls in Kenya, before we came to the mall in Westland. Westland is an area in Nairobi, which has a strong Indian population. Indian people here are known as good business man which easily get wealthy. So this area is a bit posh or upper middle class.The mall, I was told, has an pretty Arabic style. The security checkups at the garage are as strict as at an army check point. Finally they found out we had no bombs under our car or in the storage of the care. For some reason this mall is a bit keen about security. It was not allowed to take photos. Anyway, I bring you some beside. But I couldn’t do much or proper ones, so it’s just to picture it. It was for sure a very nice and posh mall with everything a women’s heart could demand 🙂 For me it was a mall with some nice restaurants and cafés.
Next stop was the very most posh mall in Nairobi. Actually it is not a mall, it is a build like a Village with several connected houses and plazas with shops and restaurants all over. We had a look around and it was quite funny, to be welcomed by an advertisement for the “Tokyo” Sushi restaurant next to the entrance. We had a look around and found a bar called “German point” which et least serves German beer. I spoke a bit German and ordered a beer, and the Kenyan service craft had enough humor to puzzle out of it, that I liked to have a Beck’s, which was the only German beer at this bar. The rest was Tusker. But I didn’t went for a beer, we bought us some Smoothies next door and sat down on a plaza to upload this new content. Unfortunately the WLAN here was protected by password, so I showed my hosts just a few pictures and movies from Hamburg. By the way, that reminds me, that I wanted to edit them and put it in my videocast. I fear this will wait until the end of my trip. Maybe I will find in the trans siberian train a bit time to do such stuff. Strange to sit in the African sun and “waste” my time to watch pictures from back home – or better show to others. But I cant say that I get homesick at all.
It was quite nice to see all that stuff which is so far away from how I thought of Africa. For sure this is just a piece of the picture and the rest will still come up, but missing piece up to now. hat is really worth mentioning is the security in the mall. This time it was not only the security service in this place – which was quite nice to me. I saw three guy’s around the entrance, hanging around like Rambo in the jungle with full camouflage uniform and German Heckler & Koch G3 Riffles! I was trained with this weapon in the German army and know it well. This is now the old version of our army riffle. I knew it is common all over Africa, but I didn’t was prepared to see soldiers in a mall in full assault gear. It was like the worst nightmare of our minister of inner security came alive and we use our soldiers in the inner country like police. Later I was told, this is actually police. A special group of police to protect some areas. Strange, all this weapons around, and all that security and walls and wires. That’s Africa. You get used to it, and you wont think about an alternative, because there is just around the corner a real danger from poor people that just want to survive.
Outside of the mall, again, it was not allowed to take photos. This time for a reason. Next door was the area of the US embassy and some very nice houses around for the employees of the US embassy. I have to say, it seems to be a good idea to work for the USA in Nairobi.
On our way to party I had a short overview about, what it look like to live in a low, middle and posh class house or flat. Even I got some pictures of nearby slums. I will visit all this places to find out about it.
Back in the police station canteen, the place was filled with AIESECers all over. This time I bring you a photo along. We had a good evening with meeting even more new people from all over the world. I met all the people from the last night out in the canteen and also a girl from Canada, a guy from Colombia and another girl from a country I forgot. Nihonjin san turned out to be Kobe san and will be back home in Kobe in march when I am there. So he promised me to show me around, host me and even will help me maybe with getting an internship in Japan next year. I am looking forward to that. He is teaching english here Kenya, by the way, and would like to have an internship in Germany as well. Hmmm. I think there should be a possibility to work in this lovely Hamburg plattform bab.la. I would love to introduce Japanese-English to their site with Kobe san.
Speaking of tie up knots, I meet a interesting upcoming Local Committee President (the boss of an AIESEC dependance at an university) which is still Vice President for Incoming Exchange (responsible for the trainees in Nairobi and to bring them to the country). I did the same job in Hamburg, and maybe we could learn a bit from them or at least share some experiences in an later talk. I also was blessed to meet the new Member Committee President (which is the boss all over an AIESEC country – Kenya in this case). She is quite a sexy women 🙂 Best looking MCP I ever saw. And boy could she move…
…speaking of move: We moved to a club, where the MCP Kenya and a nice big crew of AIESEC people overtook the bar and the dance floor. After a few nice chats it come to more and more beer and Tequila, which is also very fancy and expansive in Kenya. Finally we had a dance night which would be fine for the most sexy gangster rap video on MTV. After the DJ went home we just changed club. Really hard. I have to admit, that I was down and a bit sleepy from all the beer. But I got to know a fine other club, called Havana.On a flat screen there I saw my first African music clip from a Kenyan TV station. I lost a pool game – how come! And finally decided with my driveress Wanja to end the party. I grabbed my still dancing little princes and threw her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carried her downstairs to the streets and all the way to the car in the early morning of Nairobi. I look a bit funny with this yerking girl over my shoulder. The people around the street was pretty puzzled. With a full load of drunken guys in the backseat we drove them home. I found out, that even the lower middle class live in gated communities. It just that the gates not so strong and the houses not so big and nice, but the same system. The intern from Colombia lived in a place which looked quiet scary at the night, because of the awful roads, filled with stones and trash and fires burning at the side of the roads to get rid of trash and to warm some poor people. On our way back at a round about, we saw a car in the middle of the street with warning lights and a young women waving her hands. Wanja drove fast by this car and said in a casual tune “It’s so sad that no one would stop, because you never know if it is a helpless women or just a girl and three guys in the car with guns.” Again a bit reality on the way back home. I would have stopped to help the women, like I always do, if I see someone in trouble. Hijacking and robberies like this, I never heard of in Germany. We not even have a word for it in our language. We just say the english term “hijacking”.