Friday, July 1, 2011

stop making sense!

A friend of ours here in Kenya posted this on his Facebook wall today:

I discovered these new Kenyan laws today. Sitting on a flower pot in the CBD-5000/= Spitting on any footpath or blowing the nose aimlessly other than into a suitable cloth or tissue-10,000/= Making any kind of noise on the streets-10,000/=

As a reminder...10,000shillings is approximately $120! The average wage here in Kenya is not more than a few dollars/day.

A few days ago I was going through paperwork looking for an email address. I found some orientation papers we were given upon arrival here last August. Part of the information included some tips on avoiding fines in Nairobi. A few laws to be aware of:

Pedestrians crossing roads in Nairobi when traffic light is red: fine 10,000ksh (shillings)
Motorist moving on when the traffic light is red: fine 10,000ksh
Pedestrians crossing the road while talking on their mobile phones: fine 500ksh
Boarding/Alighting at non designated matatu stops: fine 10,000ksh (matatus are the local mini bus, main public transportation)
Unfastened seat belt: fine 500ksh
Worn out tires: fine 10,000ksh

Making any kind of noise on the streets!!?
If you stop at a red light here the cars stream around you and honk obsessively!? While this is happening people are darting between cars, talking on their phones, jumping on and off matatus while the matatu is moving, certainly not wearing seat belts! And tires?? Cars aren’t even aligned straight! And in all this chaos...beware not to sit on a flower pot, blow your nose or spit!

But no worries, the cops don’t have cars, making it hard to chase you down and they happily accept bribes if they do happen to catch you.

Despite all this craziness...I had lunch with a friend today and told her all that I love about this place. I feel kind of nauseous walking through the market knowing that it is one of my last visits and the end of my ability to say..."I know it doesn't cost that much, I live here." Earlier this week Warren and I took a spontaneous last visit to the animals on the Mara. We heard of a good deal and went for it. As we drove out of our camp it was like the animals had set up a finale and a farewell! There must have been 40 giraffes...beside us, behind us, in front of us...on the road, running ahead, popping up out of the trees! The zebra were running alongside us, an ostrich sort of raced us, there were wildebeests, lots of birds...It was almost like you could hear music...but it was made up of hooves, rutting noises of wildebeests, bird calls, breathing...Wow.

I had a moment when I thought that I should get the camera...then realized it just needed to be taken in. I won't forget.


  1. Sounds like an awesome trip with the animals! Love, Mark