Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nairobi

posted in: cross-culture, nairobi 0

The strangest thing, when shopping at Nakumatt Prestige, I’ve been approached several times by black people speaking to me in Chinese. The first time it happened I was so startled that I chatted with them back. They’re always Jehovah’s Witnesses (presumably learning mandarin in order to convert the many Chinese in Nairobi) who inevitably invite me to an event “all in Chinese” at their centre nearby, all while handing me literature to peruse.

At another nearby spot, under a nice shady tree, there’s often a white woman sitting with a young white girl in a wheelchair, both distributing this literature. (Because who could say no to a girl in a wheelchair??)

I actually ran into this white woman with her husband yesterday, who of course invited me to their next Chinese event, at Eastland hotel (a Chinese hotel nearby) next week. I politely declined with the convenient excuse that I’ll be going to Norway. After explaining that my husband has family in Norway, the woman tells me I “should really read this then”:


After chatting with them briefly, I learn that she’s from Michigan and he’s a Montrealer. And the reason they live in Nairobi? Why, because there are so many Chinese here! (No, I don’t get the logic either.) And yes they speak Chinese: 一点点。


Christmas in Nairobi

posted in: cross-culture, nairobi 0

The weather is always great in Nairobi, so being 25 degrees every day makes me forget that it’s almost Christmas time. There are some tell-tale signs though, like the workers in Santa hats at Nakumatt:

xmas time at nakumatt

We live near the Junction Mall, and I saw them set up a Santa corner–but it was only now that I noticed his hours: a full two hours every Saturday…

Santa is available for 2 hours

Meanwhile, I was having lunch outside when the Maasai group passed by. At least that’s what I presume it was. Every Thursday there’s a “musical” Maasai market at the mall, but this group was very silent as they marched by…

The Junction on Thursdays

asking for money

posted in: nairobi 0

It doesn’t happen all the time, but as a foreigner you can expect to be approached for money when out on the street. For me it’s usually the same three kids living somewhere near my street–and my preferred response is to give them some bananas or other food, if I’ve just come from the store. Once, a man asked that I buy him a bag of maize meal (which costs 100 shillings) so he could feed his family; another time, an old man asked for 200 shillings to complete the “bus fare” to his village.

Now for the first time it’s someone I know that needs help: the caretaker for our apartment building is raising money for his wife’s surgery through these business cards:

Money request

Quite effective! At least instead of simply asking verbally. (For some reason seeing it in print makes it more credible…?)

rotary phone, anyone?

posted in: nairobi 0

kfc delivery

Whoever designed this ad has clearly never seen a real rotary phone. (I remember we had a black one when I was little.)

And yes, KFC will deliver to your house–via motorbike!

overlooking the front gate

posted in: nairobi 0

overlooking the front gate

Peering out the front window, we saw baby N and her nanny chatting with some handymen, and our neighbour making use of an itinerant knife sharpener…

kenyan egg yolks

posted in: food, nairobi 0

At first I thought Kenyans didn’t know how to spell “yolk”, but now I think it’s a ruse by egg companies to not be accused of misrepresentation (many Kenyan egg yolks aren’t very yellow indeed…).

"Yellow york""Golden york eggs"

this is how we roll

posted in: nairobi 2

someone has unkindly placed me on my stomach. this is how I get out of it.
anatomy of a roll: unhappy on his stomach

STEP 1: Make sure all my surroundings are clear.
anatomy of a roll 1

STEP 2: Start the momentum going by swinging my enormously heavy head to one side, while simultaneously pushing off with the opposite foot.
anatomy of a roll 2

anatomy of a roll 3

STEP 3: Follow through with my arm.
anatomy of a roll 4

STEP 4: Wait for the dust (and my fatty rolls) to settle.
anatomy of a roll 5

STEP 5: ta-da!
anatomy of a roll 6

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