Disclaimer: I’ve been rather peripatetic since coming back so I’m in essence a quasi-returnee.
Osas yearningly wants to know: Ory advise me first, pretty please, about that enigmatic promise of yours, where you assured that you now can “get home at a decent hour to find a hot meal waiting for you.” Now how do you do that? Do you have a private helicopter (due to the vanishing AMREF millions having been put to good use)? Did you discover a secret underground network, unavailable to ordinary mortals, with quick, clean and spacious speed trains running deep under the feet of ordinary matatu-crammed mortals? Inquiring minds want to know… and not to spend 3 to 3.5 hours daily in Nairobean traffic jams.
Shiroh is uuumm perturbed by the question: Gosh! have you ever lived in Nairobi,we normally have jam only at peak times. At other times it is easy traffic flow. Gather your facts first. M sorry KP to lose on your blog but it is disturbing how some people think we live the hardest lives anyone has ever lived.
Prousette, should I establish a Paypal jar for what I’m about to write next
Osas, I don’t have a helicopter. Yet. And I promise I won’t be scamming AMREF to get one. Also have yet to discover secret underground networks, of the non-political kind that is.
How do I get to work and back home without dealing with the traffic jams?
I’m with Shiroh on this one. In my experience, traffic jam is only at peak times – if you can find a way to avoid rush hour e.g. if your work hours are a bit flexible your commute is much less of a headache. Granted I don’t use public transport to get to work like most Kenyans do..so again no template.
So when I’m working at the office, I leave the house at 8:30 and almost always get there 5-10 minutes before nine and leave work between 6:15 and 6:45 pm, sometimes later when things are hectic but that’s by choice and not because I have a clock to punch (I have workaholic tendencies). Takes about ten – fifteen minutes to get home. I’ve only encountered a really bad jam once in the morning, and that was when Mbagathi was being worked on. If I left the house or work before eight or left work at five, it would be a lot more hectic
Other tips…I refuse to live in the Nairobi ‘burbs. The furthest from town I would ever live is Westlands. That’s what happens when you’ve called Mada your home all your life. Everywhere else seems far. I like being a five minute matatu ride from town on a good day.
And a confession. I hate driving. Really. How bad? I’d always joke that I wouldn’t move back to Nairobi unless I can afford to hire a driver. I can’t afford a full-time driver (I think one needs a car first), but I unapologetically allow myself one extravagance in Nairobi – cabs (plus I’m doing my part to provide employment!). I have a crew of regulars – my daytime/airport guy (Sam) my evening/heng guy (Kamau, Thiong’o is my backup), and my town back to the digz guy. I’ve operated with all of them for the last three years.
I negotiate a flat rate with Kamau and Sam for the work raos. They share the same cab and are the best cab drivers ever. Kamau always comes up with crazy statements…one time we were debating what would be the fastest route to get somewhere he then bursts out “wacha kunikuna meno” [stop scratching my teeth] i.e. stop being a mjuaji passenger…how dare I doubt his ability to navigate Nairobi? How dare I indeed. I should start writing down his aphorisms.
The relationship I have with Sam and Kamau is one of the many things I love about Nairobi. I don’t have to worry about calling them when I’m low on cash, they’ll spot me and vice versa when they’ve run out of change. If I have to go somewhere after work and don’t want to take my laptop with me, they’ll drop it off. If the gas runs out at the digz, they’ll take me to look for gas and install it (because I still haven’t figured that after all this years) etc. etc.
Try doing that in New York.