Challenges Nairobians face
Residents of Nairobi or Kanairo as Kenya’s capital is at times referred to, are faced with several challenges in a bid to survive, including how to navigate from one place to the other.
Here are some of the challenges;
1. Lack of adequate space – The influx of people into Kenya’s largest city with each passing day, coupled with the decreasing space in the streets will leave you struggling to place one step after the other. The growing number of stalls and shops to occupy the diminishing spaces doesn’t make things easier for motorists and pedestrians. Ronald Ngala street and Kenyatta Avenue are among the notorious places in this regard.
2. ‘Hijacked’ pavements – And while at it, hawkers are also on stand-by to persuade or force you to buy their wares. At times, they will line their wares on the pavements preserved for pedestrians and expect you to seek alternative ways.
3. Matatu stages – Then there are matatus (public service vehicles) which erect their drop and pick up point literally everywhere. Thus, you are likely to bump into the traffic of people struggling to board or alight from a matatu. This is the ideal spot to lose your luggage. Worse, a walk past Gill House, Commercial where matatus plying the Buruburu and Eastleigh matatus are based provides you with a fresh challenge as the touts scramble for your services even when you do not need them. The bodaboda and mkokoteni (handcart) guys also fall into this group. They use their own manual to operate, without regard for other road users.
4. Beggars, street kids – You are also likely to bump into small boys and girls selling sweets. These ones will follow you for as long as they wish while holding onto you and ‘begging’ you to buy their goodies. Some will literally beg while referring to you as their dad, mum, bro, sister, or Auntie.
5. Thieves – Finally. There are men and women in Nairobi strategically located to snatch from you what doesn’t belong to them and take off. They come in different categories, including pick-pockets who specialize in taking away phones, to those that will cut your bag and take away some possession. If you aren’t lucky, you will encounter hijackers, or the ‘ngeta’ squad, those that will point a gun or a crude weapon and ask you to surrender your possesion in broad daylight.