Living in the Heart of Nairobi

Posted on July 13, 2010

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>After arriving in Nairobi, it took us a few days to get over jet lag and be oriented to our new surroundings. Our team is staying at Mayfield guest house. A cozy establishment owned by Africa Inland Mission that offers comfortable rooms, common living rooms and three square meals a day.

The entire establishment is run by Kenyans who have been quite helpful in learning Swahili, and they only laugh at our bizarre Americanisms occasionally. James and Samual are two of our favorites and they both have a wonderful sense of humor and are always joking with us.

This is James 

Mayfield, like pretty much every other building (aside from the slum) is surrounded by a wall with barbed wire and has big steel gate with a guard 24/7. Crime is a huge problem so everyone tries to make their property look less vulnerable than the next guys’.

This is the little house where the gate guard sits all day and night. 

Also included in our orientation was “transportation lessons” which consisted of James teaching us how to ride the Matatus (a.k.a suicide vans). These 15 passenger vans careen around Nairobi taking over every spare inch of pavement, even if that pavement happens to be the lane of oncoming traffic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to where they stop and how much they charge you, making it a daily adventure.

Goats blocking the road are a common occurrence.

Beyond the gates of Mayfield, Nairobi fits the profile of a big city in a developing country. Plumes of diesel smoke being spewed above a never ending snake of traffic, bicyclists hauling all manner of freight, roadside vendors taking advantage of the traffic to hawk their wares to weary drivers, sprawling slums with open sewage, people burning piles of garbage, and small children running about seemingly unsupervised.

We have started to settle into a rhythm here. Monday through Friday 8-5, eight members so our team take matatus to Wilson Airport where they are serving in the AIM Air hanger doing much needed maintenance to airplanes that are constantly enduring African runways. Clarissa and two other wives, plus 2 young children have the opportunity to connect with other wives of AIM Air pilots and mechanics as well as serve in various ministries around Nairobi.

This friendly little Chameleon was a bit timid, but didn’t seem to mind us picking him up.  

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Posted in: Africa