THE EAST AFRICAN SERIES, DAY 19
Kigali – Nairobi – Karen
Drone issues & the largest urban slum in Africa. We set off early doors to the airport and surprisingly everything went smoothly. Shout out to Pearl lounge in Kigali airport, never have I been in an airport lounge that had a huge screen showing the football!
WELCOME TO COUNTRY NUMBER 157
Arriving into Nairobi we progressed through to baggage and then made our way out of the airport, or that was the plan anyway!
WHERE IS NAIROBI?
Government entry advice
However, before leaving the airport you must put you hand luggage through an X-ray machine, strange I thought but in it went and knowing some of the drone issues with this part of the world I thought I almost got away with it until the lady who was checking the scans asked how I was.
“I’m good thank you.”
“Have you got a drone?”
I tried to keep calm as possible as if travelling with a drone is entirely normal. But fast forward 10 minutes they were taking it off me and ready to collect when I flew out of the country.
DAILY INFO… DAY 18
- HOTEL – Macushla Hotel
- FOOD – Chicken Curry & Chicken Stirfry
- ATTRACTIONS –
- STEPS – 9,000
- MILES – 729.5 miles
DAILY INFO… DAY 19
- HOTEL – Karen Blixen Camp
- ATTRACTIONS – Evening drive
- STEPS – 16,000
However the problem with that was we were not returning to Nairobi and instead driving to Tanzania via the western gate which is a 2 day drive. This was explained but the people at the front are never the best to talk to. So I took the hint and went to meet our guide who suggested we have another go.
He spoke to a few people at the entrance who made calls and told me the best person to talk to was the manager of customs.
After getting a customs pass at the police authority I then headed to meet the customs manager Paul at T1E. Strange thing was that when I arrived no one seemed to know who Paul was until someone piped up and said they heard about my case.
After speaking to another person (still not Paul) I was eventually lead into Paul’s office and you could clearly see from his oak furniture he was the boss.
From the off Paul couldn’t have been nicer and after understanding the situation he was immediately looking for a way to resolve it and after realising the only way was trust, he tried immediately to suss out my morals.
“What is your religion?”
Fuck! I couldnt help but think what the right answer would be. Back at home this question is very black or white, you are either very right or very wrong. But I decided not to push it out there on the hope he would accept;
But he wasn’t accepting that
“Protestant or Catholic?”
“Protestant” I replied hoping for a positive response.
“What is the name of your church?
Now I’m thinking what the f**k! But also know he is looking for a reason to give me my drone so I continue to answer.
“Do you practice religion?”
He seemed well versed into Christianity as after telling him my mum and dad took me to Sunday school every Sunday he said,
“Yes but that’s young, do you practice now?”
I had 2 choices, lie and say yes all the time but be honest and say no, I rarely go. Instead I decided to combine the both,
“Yes I do but I will be honest. I don’t go every week.” Hoping he would be won over by my honesty.
Eventually he relented, I could tell he always wanted to but also knew he didn’t have to. I could not speak highly enough of him and how understanding he was of the situation. If I were to have the same issue in any other country, it would have been a straight up no…Algeria!
Now thanking my lucky stars we finally made our way into Karen, a suburb of Nairobi where we checked into Macushla House.
Mascushla House was previously a pair of semi detached houses before being bought and combined into a boutique guest house. It is right beside the Giraffe Centre, Giraffe Manor and a large National park so it isn’t unusual to see other wild animals roaming around. We spied a few warthogs and a number of monkeys.
The hotel is rustic and very colourful with a host of rooms to sit a chill out and a small swimming pool to the rear.
Because of the delay in getting the drone we were somewhat a bit rushed now and made our way back to Nairobi to the largest urban slum in Africa.
There is currently a huge program going on in the centre where education is being offered to young kids in order to keep them away from crime. Very often when you get involved in crime at such a young age you will continue your life in the same way. So it is important to get at these kids on the straight and narrow as early as possible.
After getting an introduction from the man who leads this initiative we visited 3 different homes in the area and got a fair shock at how people live in such areas.
The first was a mud hut of the literal sense with a couple (the mother has epilepsy) and 1 child. The room was incredibly dark and small, maybe just 2.5m x 3m, just enough room for a dirty mattress on the floor and tiny stove.
The second was slightly bigger (3×3) and on the first floor. It was pieced together with corrugated metal and had been decorated internally with old bedsheets draped on the walls and ceiling. At home we have a bigger utility room!
It’s incredible how so many people can get by on such few resources.
We were running late but still managed to meet Mohammad, the guy who started Nairobi’s Mutatu craze. Mutatu’s (taxi buses) are garish, bold and loud. It’s a common phenomenon now in Nairobi where people seek out the most impressive Matatu to ferry them across the city. In order to maintain business, owners now repeat this process every year in order to stay ahead of the game.
Mohammad is at the forefront of this and could charge around $6000 for his work which has taken a lifetime to learn.
He was super happy to welcome us and show some of his other work apart from Mutatus.
Drone issues & the largest urban slum in Africa
- MVP – Customs manager and Peter from Mascushla House, such a gent
- HIGHLIGHT – The kids in Kibera and getting my drone back.
- LOWLIGHT – Seeing the houses in the slums was eye opening, frightening how so many people live.
To see how people live and how the kids look so happy, Kibera was more than just a shock. I have to respect what the people of this slum have done to it, using the few resources they have to improve the lives of the kids.
Safari time at the Masai Mara!! Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of The East African Series, for the entire series click here or for episode 1, click here.
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.
- Have you visited a slum?
- What was the most difficult part?
Let me know in the comments below . . .