Monday, February 5, 2007

Remembering Nairobi

I began feeling nostalgic about leaving Nairobi during my last afternoon there. So as I was riding the back of a city bus to my hotel I decided to snap some photos of whatever scenes I could capture from where I was sitting. These are just short glimpses of weekday life in the Kenyan capital city.

**Note: I mentioned in a previous blog "Conflict in the WSF" that a group of local Kenyans protested the restaurant monopoly within the conference, leaving the local food vendors out in the parking lot. They also protested the high conference rates and demanded that the food be distributed to the children. During the closing ceremonies of the conference, locals marched from the slums to the downtown area, but tragically two men --who were part of the protesters during the week-- were shot and killed. Their deaths were confirmed, but the identity of the culprits were not at the time of our departure. Many believe the shooters were working with the Kenyan officials who owned the restaurant inside the conference. May their souls rest in peace, and their struggle toward social justice live on.

I believe they were waiting on the bus or matatus to swing by. Matatus are similar to the "combis" or "colectivos" in Mexico, where people squeeze in minivans to get where they need to go. There's a matatu below, but it wasn't nearly as colorful as most of the ones I saw.

One thing that's universal among big cities across the globe--Traffic. Notice how the traffic is coming from the left side. That was one of the hardest things to get used to while we were in Nairobi. A woman from the Global Exchange delegation was hit by a bus and killed as she crossed the downtown streets of the city. We all grew paranoid when crossing the street after that. Many of us held hands and darted to the other side. We must have looked so silly to the locals.

Hip-Hop alive in Kenya--Check out Snoop Dogg representing in Nairobi.

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