A few months ago I walked into a kibanda — the makeshift, street-side eateries made of wood beams and aluminum panels — in Uthiru and had my last cup of tea and chapati in Kenya. After eight years of living and working there I had decided to move on.
There’s hardly a better way to spend a Saturday in Nairobi than touring a 100-year-old tea farm in Limuru. In a city with very few green spaces, Kiambethu tea farm is literally a breath of fresh air — within forty-five minutes you can be away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi gazing upon a rolling, green sea of tea leaves.
As if an escape from a loud, dirty city wasn’t motivation enough, the excursion is educational and they even cook you lunch!
CNN reports on the news that Nairobi has been ranked, apparently for the second year in a row, as the “most intelligent” city in Africa.
According to the Intelligent Community Forum, “intelligent communities” are those that have taken “conscious steps” to create an economy that can prosper in the “broadband economy.”
Well that’s definitely misleading: it’s not about intellectual intelligence. The forum merely considers the fact that Nairobi has relatively fast/cheap broadband, incubators for tech startups, and the ability to pay for stuff everywhere using our phones. Yeah, it does. Shrug.
The reality is that Nairobi is corrupt, dangerous, dirty, and expensive. I don’t think it’s any consolation to Nairobi’s denizens that their city is “intelligent.” Nairobi also has one of the most “painful” commutes of any city in the world. And the insecurity in Nairobbery obviously contributed to Kenya’s abysmal ranking in the 2014 crime index.
All of that doesn’t just stop being important because we can stream YouTube videos without buffering! We should be focusing on metrics that matter, like the Human Development Index or the Global Peace Index.