Kenya: Humbled in Nairobi

Andre went for an early morning run today. The only white guy around among groups of workers getting off their matatus and school children walking to school. It suddenly dawned upon me, as I was getting effortlessly overtaken by young children late for school, that I was in the homeland of the world’s top long distance runners ! 

Nothing quite like that to exacerbate one’s feelings of inadequacy!

Turkana Boy, resting peacefully for 1.6 million years

We then had the pleasure of meeting Turkana Boy, at the Nairobi National Museum. Discovered on the shores of Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya by Richard Leaky and Kamoya Kimeu, the 1.6 million years old homo erectus is the world’s oldest known direct ancestor of Modern Man. Another humbling experience which made us realize of how little significance our short (but no longer so brutal…) lives are.

Kenya: the dragon of East Africa?

Nairobi appears on the brink of an economic miracle.  While Langata reminds me of Greenwich, in Connecticut, with its leafy avenues, large houses at the end of long driveways, downtown Nairobi feels like Shanghai a few years ago (including the ubiquitous Chinese construction companies). 

New condominiums and shopping malls are sprouting up everywhere. Parts of the city feel like a giant construction site. And, of course, real estate prices are sky-rocketing (reportedly the highest increase in the world). This is a city on the cusp of bursting into the “economic miracle” club.

China is building Africa

Later, on a visit to our friend’s office in town, we learn that he employs an “artist in residence” (our friend’s activity is completely unrelated to art). An employee for 42 years, all he does is create wonderful paintings of whimsical African landscapes.

James Mutteti, artist in residence at Bridges Exploration.

Kenya: Nature surrounded

Nairobi National Park is the only national park in the world which is adjacent to a city. People looking out of their windows might (at a push!) be able to see lion, zebra and buffalo roaming the savannah. 

With the city expanding, the park is slowly being surrounded and the last migration corridors to the Maasai Mara are closing…

Nairobi National Park…wilderness in the city
The aftermath of poaching at the Sheldrick Elephant orphanage

Kenya: Langata days

A first day spent in our friend’s house amidst lush gardens in the leafy Nairobi suburb of Langata. Gathered around the fireplace to keep the cold humidity of the cool Nairobi winter, we feel almost at home.

The night was peaceful, only disturbed by the cries of shapeless night creatures.

Well deserved beer at our friend’s house
Stocking up at the local store