Life in Nairobi

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya in East Africa with a population similar to that of Sydney. English and Swahili are the official languages. If you’re in the city you’ll notice people mixing English with Swahili, however there are numerous indigenous languages spoken.

Nairobi is like any other major city, with a CBD and suburbs that go from those struggling to make ends meet to palatial houses with majestic gardens. There’s ATM’s, malls, shopping centres, daycare centres, schools and lots of traffic. Yes, there’s traffic lights but there seems to be an unwritten law that there are some lights that are mandatory to obey and others are personal choice.

There are mini vans called matatu’s which cost around 40 cents to get you to your destination, but they’re often overcrowded. Matatu drivers will often drive up on footpaths, or cause traffic jams  because they like to take over the roads. At present there’s lots of road building going on in Nairobi which hopefully ease traffic problems.

Education is really important so kids will often be at school at 7am and not return home until 12 hours later! A majority of people walk because they don’t have a car or bike so you’ll see hundreds of people walking on the side of the road. Sometimes there are footpaths, other times, it’s just dirt.

We live an area called Lavington which gives us good access to where we will be working. It’s close to a couple of malls, petrol stations and sporting fields. It’s also close to a variety of restaurants which is great because eating out is very, very cheap!

Because of terrorist attacks in Nairobi, security can never be taken for granted. 2013 saw plenty of bombings in malls, matatus and churches. Therefore security checks are a normal part of our day, even when you go to church. Pete normally ‘beeps’ because of the pin in his leg and he certainly gets annoyed with it.

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