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Nairobi 2012

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FC: Ken's trip to Nairobi, Kenya January, 2012 | United States International University

1: Safari Park Hotel Nairobi, Kenya

2: mosquito netting around my bed

3: United States International University

6: AIDS health warnings and free condoms in the gents' loo | Students in the admin hallway, picking up graded exams stacked along the walls

9: My hosts for the whole visit are Muryae Mulinge, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (standing) and Mathew Buyu, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.

13: Thursday and Friday lunch in the cafeteria. Friday I ordered the goat.

15: During a Friday afternoon meeting with a dozen or so students, I asked them to pass around the camera.

24: Atrium, University Library

25: The library's busiest section: textbook rental.

26: Saturday morning I'm taken around Nairobi. Driving is on the left side of the road. | (It's a hard thing to get used to. That night I have recurring dreams about head-on collisions.)

30: Much public transportation is by shared-ride vans called Matutus, marked by yellow stripes along the side. They're sometimes packed to overflowing, and common as cabs in New York.

31: Intersections are often in roundabouts with exciting merges.

32: One of numerous Kenyan coffee plantations Cyndi and I support.

33: Most Kenyans speak three languages: Swahili, English, and a local/tribal language. Around town billboards -- even for pop culture or (above) soap, are in English only, because of the large United Nations population.

38: The massive slum in Kibera. Mulinge tells me it's the world's second largest, behind Rio de Janerio's. The government recently tried clearing it by providing nearby public housing (green and blue roofed buildings to the left), but occupants went back to the slums, where they found more "opportunity" -- gambling, prostitution, drug peddling, in a place without streets or police.

39: Providing housing projects will work only if they come with some kind of economic development as well.

40: Plantation for tea, an important export.

42: One of our best stops is the Nairobi National Museum and Snake Park. Exhibits of early colonial history, the construction of the railroad, and independence in the early 1960s. A "Cradle of Humankind" exhibit has fossils tracing millions of years of human evolution, much of it pieced together in Kenya and Ethiopia, where we began.

48: Lunch at Carnivore, outside Langata and near Wilson Airport. Shared mixed grill, choose your meat. | I order alligator.

50: The enormous East African Rift, once considered part of the "Great Rift Valley" extending all the way north to Turkey and Syria, and home to the world's deepest lakes. The rift may be growing, slowly dividing Africa into two continents.

55: Before flying home Sunday I hire a driver to take me to the Nairobi National Park, the closest thing I can find to a safari on the time I have left. Armed guard at the entrance.

56: I don't think much of the park, which (since they've had to enclose it) feels like a cross between a safari and a zoo. I have varied fellow tourists, though.

57: Leopard | Warthogs

58: Sykes Monkey | Crocodile

60: On the way back to the hotel we drive through a road construction site. Through it, with all the other cars, driving around a steamroller and guys with shovels.

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  • By: Ken O.
  • Joined: over 7 years ago
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  • Title: Nairobi 2012
  • Sightseeing as part of a business trip to the United States International University.
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Updated: about 7 years ago