Last week I wrote that life became more and more normal. But thinking about it, maybe it’s not that normal after all. Because a lot of crazy things happend the past few days!
After weeks of planning, Saturday was THE day for the very first Nairobi Xavier Ball. Saturday we got up in the morning to start finishing the last preparations. While the others finished the guestlists and mixed cocktails and Dawa’s, with a few other colleagues I prepared the venue. Afcourse everybody was late: the chairs, the band etc. And to complete the chaos, the chaircovers were half broken, wrinkled or just not clean. But with some creativity and running around we all made it happen. It was a great night, there was plenty wine and cocktails, delicious Ethiopian buffet, an auction with awesome prizes, good music and most important: great people that all together made this an amazing evening.
On Sunday my friends from Tanzania came to Nairobi! With Vanessa, Bry and Miriam I had a really nice day. Brunched with a big cheeseburger and Oreo Milkshake, went rollerblading on an empty parking lot in town, went shopping at the Masaai Market and had dinner downtown. Also we almost got more puppies, when a random guy came up to us with two white fluffy puppies for sale. We cuddled them, but eventually ratio took over and we decided that it would be the worst idea ever to take them home haha.
But… coming back to the ‘not so normal after all’ are a few things that are less fun. Afcourse I had already heared about the crazy armed robberies that Nairobi – or Nairobbery – is known for. Before I went to Kenya, people told me so many negative stuff that I actually was a bit scared for my stay. But when time passed by, I learned that almost all Kenyan people are friendly and helpful and when you are careful the risks are less. And so far I have not been in any risky situation. But one of the other guests from the guesthouse was less fortunate, when he took a boda (motor taxi) in the night this weekend, a man with a gun pointed at him came up when they slowed down for a speedbump just 5 minutes from our house. The boda kept driving and they were fine, but it was still super scary! Also because the people here say that very often the boda’s work together with the bad guys, especially at night.
Also tensions are rising around the 2017 elections. I hope this short summary is correct: the opposition doesn’t trust the commission that has to make sure the elections will be fair. They are protesting every monday, until the commission steps up and a new one will be reinstalled. Yesterday was the second Monday, and the protesters at some point started throwing stones to the police. From there on it escalated, the police used teargas and started beating up protesters. There is one video on social media where the police is kicking a guy already motionless on the ground. Also the car of the opposition leader was hit (by a bullet or a rock, not sure yet?). The police brutality and possible attack on the oposition leader, in combination with people paying (50ksh, not even 50 eurocents) the youth in the slums to go riot caused a gunfire yesterday two streets from our house. We were just hanging on the couch because the power was off, when we heared the shots outside and people screaming. Very very scary. I think it was my first time to hear actual gunshots.
From what I know now, the people were paid to go ‘demonstrate’ and started to demolish or lift up the railway that goes trough Kibera. The police reacted with warning shots in the air, but somehow it’s also said that one of the rioters died. It’s a bit scary but as a Conflict Student also very interesting to experience these things from up close. Especially because the tension in Kibera is still very high and people are willing to do such things again if they get 50ksh, while the elections are still one year away. I have a friend who is a journalist and who keeps me up to date on which places to avoid when and I’m cheking the news regularly on social media (so don’t worry mom, dad, grandparents etc, I’ll be okay haha!).
What was also very scary, was that yesterday a pretty big monkey came into our kitchen to steal bananas! I’m not joking haha. Appearantly they hang around the area sometimes, looking for food in the houses.
The news and photos from the riots:
The news from Kibera is not very well covered, information comes mostly from neighbours and phonecalls/text messages from people at the police or down in Kibera.
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a D u t c h g i r l
i n E a s t - A f r i c a.