AIDOH-girls - The World Social Forum

Arrival in Nairobi

Arriving in Nairobi

As I stepped out of Nairobi airport the first word that came to my mind was: chaos! The cars were roaring by, seemingly without any thoughts of traffic restrictions. Taxi drivers were fighting to get tourists lured into their cabs’, and the taxi driver I had arranged to pick me up, was busy bribing a police officer who had pulled him over for talking on the phone while driving.

Chaos continued as I got to the heart of the city. Nairobi is one big mixture of rich and poor, beauty and slum. There are children sitting on the streets, sniffing glue while prominent businessmen in expensive suits are passing by. There are tall, beautiful glass buildings and exotic trees just down the street from where garbage is piling up, and tin shacks have been put up to house some of the 4 million people living in Nairobi.

Everywhere I went, chaos seemed to rule. Not the kind of chaos caused by people running around in a hurry, on the contrary, the pace in Nairobi is very laid back, but chaos, because we from the North are very reliant on things to go smooth and fast, and in Nairobi that is seldom the case. It wasn’t the case either when we tried to get ready for the Forum.

Bother and Bureaucracy

The first problem occurred when we decided to use a Kenyan printing company to produce 30,000 brochures. The size of the brochures was wrong, the colors were wrong and there were huge delays in getting them printed. Most of that has been corrected, but currently we have only received about 4,000 posters, and at this time it should have been about 15,000.

The second problem was getting our access cards to the forum, this turned out to be quite the challenge. The level of bureaucracy inside the forum was surprising. You had to go three different places and fill in several forms to get the access card for something you had already paid and registered for at home.

The first impression of the forum as a whole has been lack of organization. No one seems to know anything about what was going on. We were sent back and forth and in the wrong directions because no one was able to tell us anything that lay beyond their specific area of expertise.

Pulsating diversity

Even though my description of Nairobi might sound a bit negative, it’s not to be misunderstood. I am very fascinated by this pulsating city, because if chaos is one key-word used to describe Nairobi, another has to be diversity.

The mixture of all kinds of people and buildings make Nairobi a very diverse and exiting city to be in, it’s a city of acceptance and respect for people of other cultures and religions. The Kenyans are very curious and open, and you meet nothing but white smiles from the people you pass, whether they are rich or poor, Kikuyu or Luhya. new-struct/Happenings-and-Projects/2007/KE/ukblog2.htm

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Daily blogs from AIDOH-girls on big and small events in Nairobi Peace march from Kibera slum to Uhuru Park to the English version of this document  

Additional Information:
Categories: Daily blogs from AIDOH-girls on big and small events in Nairobi | 2007: World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya
Themes: Children´s rights | Criticism of governments | HIV/AIDS | NGO activities | Religion | Sexual education | Women´s rights
Type: Articles
Dates: 22nd January 2007