impressions #2

What I really like about Nairobi are those old shops downtown were you still find lots of history and dust from the 1960s & co. Unfortunately, though, things have changed a lot on (e.g.) Moi Avenue and many of these old shops that would previously guarantee some interesting discoveries have nowadays been dissolved and turned into small booths selling either clothes or mobile phones.


One of these old shops that somehow managed to survive although one hardly ever sees a customer in them, is A.H.Adam Ltd., a …uhmm….hardware shop? That is, the whole shop is crowded with old instruments and wooden gadgets from the 1950s,60s, etc, modern – local – hardware equipment and if I remember well, it used to be the only shop in Nairobi a long, long time ago where you could rent tents and other camping equipment one would require for an extensive safari.
I went inside and asked the owner whether he ever thought about that day when a man comes into the shop, offers him a lot of money and tells him to give him everything the way it is.
You know this place might not offer really valuable items, however, it sure makes up for an interesting discovery event.
The owner smiled at me and said: “I am waiting for that day and would go on a looooooooooong vacation.” I reached for my pockets but couldn’t find enough…
In case you’re in NBO, check them out opposite Jevanjee Garden while they are still open. Nakumatt downtown is in the neighbourhood and apparently killed many of these small shops…

Kenya, I think, urgently needs a deposit system for batteries.


These are some of the old batteries I found on my friend’s new 2acre shamba. While the new generation knows about heavy metals and environmental pollution issues, many old ppl still don’t know anything about material flow management as they grew up with organic waste (goat bones, maize combs, etc.) and thus keep on throwing these batteries in the garden, into the fire or even into the toilet.
Also, I know many ppl think that toilets are holes with no end – places where you can dispose of anything without having to worry…..And this applies to educated and non-educated ppl around the world, I am not only talking about your fav. shaggz homies / villagers / rural folks.
Keeping in mind that it would prolly take too much to explain the environmental context to everyone, I thought a financial incentive in terms of a (let’s say 2/=) battery deposit could generate some awareness or at least help ppl removing these ticking time bombs from their fields. What happens to old batteries in Kenya anyways?

On a lighter note – next time you’re in a Ministry, desperately looking for a missing file, try to check the Ministry’s external storage space a.k.a. window shield.


I came across this peculiar file someone had lost or thrown into the inner yard of that building and couldn’t help but taking a picr with my mobile. You know, that piece of paper is there, hundreds of people are passing it every day and not a SINGLE person feels responsible enough to remove it. Even I didn’t.
Maybe I should put a 20 Shillings note inside that file and see how ppl react.

Btw, when will they start privatizing the main roads in Nairobi?

Note to myself: save your money for a notebook + wireless internet flatrate in Kenya.

impressions #1


„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:



Then, later on downtown, I saw this:


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?
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.


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.


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!

res-q team

I was thinking about this one comment Mshairi mentioned the other day that apparently came up during her, Sokari’s & Wesley’s? interview on BBC: “the person who (said) that blogging was un-African“.

Now I am back in Kenya since 2 days and there are? already tons of “blogging material”, stuff that needs to be written down and shared with others. For instance, just this morning I saw this old pick-up which was towed away by fundis using simple ropes. The funny thing is that? it had a “res-q team” sticker on its windscreen. We stopped by and shared a laugh with these guys.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what I like about Kenya: some ppl? are poor, others are rich, some just try to make it through the day while others are so bored that they need external entertainment. What? they all? have in common, though, is their ability to laugh – no matter how? challenging their situation is…

p.s.: blogging is all about sharing your joy with others… :-)


Just a small visual update while I am here, trying to install this
// lost trolleys @ the airport :-)

// HOME SWEET HOME a.k.a. tuskerzunguness as felt by JKE

// e-solar products @ Nakumatt

// This directory on NGOs in East Africa sells for 1.000/= Kshs. (~12,- EUR) and despite of some interesting advertisment, it only contains an (incomplete) list of all registered NGOs and their resp. postal addresses. Interesting publication for those? who need an overview but imho nothing that I’d pay a thousand shillings for…