It has been a week since I landed in Kenya and it has just been a wonderful experience so far. We continued our weekend trips by visiting Bomas Village that showcases the rich culture Kenya has and we were thrilled to know that there are people in remote parts of the country still living in their original huts leading such an ordinary life. They are so disconnected from other parts of the world. Even though am not in anyway related to music (other than just listening!), the dance and music they perform reminds me of Indian music. After all, music is music – combination of the seven notes, I guess ! The performers were just enjoying what they were doing, being proud to be Kenyan.
Across the people I’ve interacted so far, the thing that stands out is the passion for their country – Proud to be Kenyan which, am sure will take the country a long way. They love being part of the country’s development doing their bit each day. One person I met had come back from US after 12 years as they believed that his country needs him more than US !
Our work started with us going to the University of Nairobi. The University has a rich history with all the leaders who are transforming Kenya today have been with the university at some point in their career. The most exciting thing for me was the admin block that has been named “Mahatma Gandhi Wing” and the beautiful statue of Gandhi in the book shop. (I did see a road in Nairobi that’s named after him too.) Am very proud to be part of this project as it gives me a feeling that am helping in Kenya’s development in some tiny way.
I should mention the opportunity I got to meet Dr Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary Kenya’s Ministry of ICT. He has such vast experience in academia and in the ministry shaping the way Kenya progresses in ICT. He is a visionary with clear focus on what the problems are and what needs to be done. We were stunned to see the support we got from him for our work. Inspite of his tight schedule, he made sure he gave us enough time to chat, joke and to express his thoughts around his vision for Kenya. I salute him for his humbleness!
With such great experiences meeting the heads of various departments & ministries, we headed to Nakuru – the fastest growing town in Kenya. Interesting fact we came across was that Nakuru has been named 2nd fastest growing town in the World (First is a Chinese town)! Nakuru is in the Rift Valley which while coming from Nairobi gives a breathtaking view. This lets you enjoy the sheer difference of city you see in Nairobi vs the real Africa which you enter into. The town is a tourist spot with Lake Nakuru National Park, Menengai Crater, Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo being the most famous. The town center itself is quite busy with street hawkers and few big super markets but just 2 minutes away from Kenyatta Avenue, you get to see a lot of Kenyans resting in the park middle of the day !
Apart from the matatus (mini vans), there are lot of “Tuk-Tuk” (reminds me of Thailand!) which can take 3 people and taxis that can take 4. Everything from banana to taxis to a day trip has to be bargained and it’ll be worth it ! Language isn’t a barrier atall as almost all speak English. They appreciate your “Jambo” & “Asante Sana” for sure but a bit more – “Karibu” (welcome) & “Habari ya MChana” (How are you this afternoon?) goes a long way too.
Zaidi ya kuja (More to come) !