Sunday, June 30, 2013


On Wednesday Mom hired Edwin, one of her regular drivers, to take us to the Village Market. The VM is a combination market and mall with a water slide park and mini golf. It's kind of a bit of everything and designed with very interested features and is partially inside and partially out! We found a few great shops there and had a delicious lunch in the food court (how many times can I eat biryiani on this trip?) 

On the drive to the VM Edwin explained about the neighbourhoods and what was going in the areas. Apparently the VM is located in an area whose property values have quadrupled in the recent couple of years. After a US embassy bombing and other attacks, numerous embassies moved into the area and the result is high, high security. With the decrease in crime there naturally became an increase in demand for property. It also has a highly nutritious and bright red soil, so throughout the area you'll find huge corn fields side by side with large homes in gated communities. Edwin also pointed out that nearly everyone in the area carries a weapon for protection so even if you did try to pull off something ''untoward', you simply wouldn't make it back out. 

The area is also the home neighbourhood of the newly elected president and it's his mission to clean it up. 

There is security at the entrance to all buildings that perform a bag search and sometimes a wand run over, one thing we're definitely not used to - along with mall security carrying rifles. So far, though I know Nairobi has a bad reputation, we haven't felt unsafe. We don't go out after dark and the area around the university is safe and developing. As you get used to the throngs of people around, walking, working, standing and visiting, it all becomes a little less daunting. People are SO friendly, calling out "Karibu Kenya" (welcome!)
a lot. They have big smiles for you and the children. There are a lot of inquisitive looks as this area doesn't have much of a 'white' population. 

The funniest thing happened Friday while we were driving. The windows were open and the "matatu" next to us had it's windows open. One of the kids on my side was looking at me and tugging on his mom's shirt and looking at me some more. I smiled and waved and he yelled something out in Swahili. Anne, the woman driving us around, translated that to mean "what is it?!" LOL. Apparently it can also be translated as a greeting so who knows what he meant. But funny nonetheless because it happens quite a bit. 

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