impressions #1

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„How do you buy stuff without cash?“ – a valid question that can also be understood from a different perspective. While the average middle-class Nairobian would probably associate this question with the convenience of pesa points a.k.a. functioning ATMs, others might just as well think of huge Nakumatt supermarkets that offer virtually anything and – to my mind – are part of the driving forces that direct the Kenyan economy.
People seem to have money and are willing to share spend it – which of course isn’t bad. Lakini, I was wondering what kind of impact the Nakumatt & Co. variety has on those that see it everyday and can’t afford it.
Just yesterday I encountered an old Gikuyu grandmother from Githongoro (sp?) who’s trying to feed her 40years old mentally disabled son and who had never come accross any sort of water flushed toilet nor light switches. A nice old, very humble cucu (grandmother) who’s just as Kenyan as those Playstation Kids, the mobile phone generation. We are talking of Nation building and I can’t see many ppl taking care of others – only working for their own benefit or interest. What’s more important – money or the joy of sharing? Harambee, harambee?

The other day, we were having our „buy Kenyan stuff, build Kenya“-day which saw us choosing from a variety of interesting products such as these herbal mixes and chais as previously mentioned by Irena:

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Then, later on downtown, I saw this:

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An advertisement by TOTAL Kenya Ltd. on “a free tape of Kenyan music with every 2.500/= spent cash on fuel”….modern nationalism = marketing instrument?
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Also, I was wondering why a huge packet of salt sells for only Kshs. 8/= (EUR 0,09) while a tin of (yellow) maize costs 96 /=. This processed food is Made in Kenya and costs EUR 1,12 and the same content costs EUR 0,39 in Europe. MAIZE!

Talking of strange products, let me please mention this BIC shaver I found @ Nakumatt. A shaver for dark skin. Hmmm….you know my skin isn’t dark, but the price was good (20 bob) so I went for it and ended up with lots of scars on my throat.

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I should follow the instructions from time to time.

And of course the obligatory (kitsch) Nakumatt curiosity – this time in form of a glass table for the living room with an artifical garden scenery right under the glass.

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Yes, that’s a complete plastic garden with water, sounds and a small pump that puts the water into a constant flow. Just WHO buys such stuff? :-)

to be continued…

AOB: Link of the Week => Mzalendo, the parliament watch(wo)man’s website, initiated by fellow bloggers Ory & M. Kudos for this great idea and implementation!