It is only in Nairobi where someone knocks you off on the streets because he is in a hurry, only to find them sitting at the frustration square near Hilton or Aga Khan walk. Nairobians are more afraid of fellow human beings more than wild animals. Here are some peculiar Nairobian habits:
Asking for directions in Nairobi
In this city, the only place you can ask and get directions without being misled is on Google maps. Apart from this, ask your friend or guards who man various buildings – and ensure they are in uniform and not at a funny corner. Asking for directions from a random stranger on the streets is never a wise move – you can find yourself at a cul-de-sac rounded up by weird-looking characters.
Getting assistance while in trouble
A kleptomaniac can just remove your side mirror in traffic jam while other motorists are watching, but nobody will do anything to help. No shouting, no threatening the thief – everyone just minds their own business. And have you seen someone faint on the streets but nobody comes out to help them? Well, people might surround you, but only as witnesses not first aiders. It is only in Nairobi where accident victims are found without shoes, wallets and other valuables – most of the first responders are only concerned about what you can give before you die, not how they can save you from crossing over. These items are always sold in the informal settlements and on the streets without a receipt or warrant.
Pizza Tuesdays and Thursdays
Cooking is slowly fading off in the city as fast food craze takes over the Nairobi woman. In this age of Terrific Tuesdays and dial-a-delivery services, the food business has grown and even attracted international companies that find the market attractive. Sometimes, it is even cheaper to buy ready food than to make it at home. And with the high number of bachelors, even supermarkets are now selling ready food which is also attracting the women. Life is too busy in the city to waste time in the kitchen. Then somebody came up with this “kuku porno” thing!
On the road
Platforms for sharing traffic intelligence are the most active in this city. Nairobians know how to flood the roads with personal vehicles especially on the first week of the month. However, as the month progresses, traffic eases. And at any given day, Nairobi drivers are always in a hurry. They will drive on pavements, overlap, overtake at the wrong places and actually never obey any traffic rule they learnt in school. Some do not even use indicator lights or mirrors. Even in places designated for pedestrian crossing, you have to be on the lookout because the typical Nairobian will never slow down even when the traffic lights signal them to stop. And when it rains, just brace for traffic. It’s as if vehicles come down from heaven with the rain. If using a matatu, the fair will automatically shoot up the moment it starts drizzling – unless you live in some estates where people would rather go to a hotel to take tea waiting for fairs to drop to 20/-.
One day I met a former high school classmate but could not recognize her. She was the one who called my name and even then, I had a hard time remembering her. She had changed completely from her physique to the complexion. Every woman in the city is beautiful, with a baby-smooth face, big hips, brown complexion, long hair, big boobs and curvaceous body. And when you pass by River Road, you will not miss a chance with a marketer of “mafuta ya uso, nywele, hips….”
And then women are drinking like fish until they black out and find themselves in the house of a stranger the following morning!
Sponsors and cougars
The accomplished Nairobian is now threatening the dreams of the young Nairobian. They have denied men the chance to get wives, and women, the chance to meet hard working young men for marriage. Men are even picking up married women and breaking marriages especially in cases where the husband cannot support the lifestyle his wife demands. There have even been cases of sponsors paying for a couple’s honeymoon – without the groom’s knowledge! On the other hand, cougars have also taken it a notch higher by forming clubs where they meet with single men whom they encourage to stop hustling. Young men are busy looking for cougars who can support them and even their girlfriends, and so there is no need for them to work. The next time you meet an “accomplished” man who does not do anything for a living, find out whether he is a beneficiary of those private cougars clubs.
When you sit in the matatu, you have to be careful how and where you use your mobile phone. The average Nairobi crook will knock the glass window at lightning speed and before you know that the window was broken, your phone is gone. Private vehicle owners also have to take extra caution when carrying valuables. I’ve heard of people leave their laptops in the boot, get into a supermarket and when they came back there was nothing. Just like any other growing city, the average Nairobi con is usually in a suit and tie. Another notorious group is street children who can snatch your laptop and then dive into a sewage pipe! Looking for bread and butter in this city is not a joke.
Sabina Joy and Koinange street culture
A while ago, a friend was making fun of how men go to “kagua mali” on Koinange street or at Sabina Joy. While prostitution is a job opportunity for some, in Nairobi it has attracted mainly helpless University students who eventually take it up full time, and wealthy women who just do it for fun. Nowadays, call girls have decided to leave the cold streets and clubs where they have to endure cold weather just to attract a client, and are now using technology to trade. That is the life of the average Nairobian!