Back in the 1960’s, the Upper Hill section of Nairobi was the enclave of the rich. It had nice homes surrounded by gardens above the bustle of Nairobi proper, but still very close to the city. After independence, many of the white landowners turned their property over to Kenyans.
By the time I first visited in 2004, it seemed a run-down neighbourhood. Those old homes were not kept up, and the gardens long gone. In fact, the Upper Hill seemed downtrodden enough to have a hostel there, Upper Hill Campsite, where I stayed. Now flash forward to 2009, and Upper Hill is on the up and up.Read More
Last night in a Seattle airport bar, I learned we would have the son of an immigrant as our next president. I have never slept better on a redeye flight. While I dozed in happiness on the way home to DC, joy and relief passed through the hearts of the world.
We just proved the American Dream is alive – anyone can be President.
And even though I missed the epic Election Day parties here in DC, I’m headed to the biggest Barak Obama party ever – Kenya.
The country is in a fit of ecstatic delight. The son of a Kenyan, President of America. I am crying as I type this, overwhelmed with pride in my country. I cannot even imagine what a beacon of hope Obama brings to Kenya.Read More
In the 1990’s, Kenya’s capitol developed a reputation as a center of thievery and lawlessness. People would be harassed by glue-sniffing street kids, their cars robbed of anything valuable, and any respectable citizen fled the city at sunset. That’s why they called it “Nai-robbery.”
When I was here in January 2003, President Mwai Kibaki had just been elected, ending twenty-seven years of rule by Daniel arap Moi, rule that became exponentially more corrupt over time. Kibaki’s arrival was greeted by two weeks of parties, the country rejoicing over the change, with optimism so high it frothed over in the streets of Nairobi.
For the first time in decades the zebra crossings were re-painted and cars stopped for pedestrians. Traffic police were refused bribes with drivers requesting a real ticket instead. The whole country seemed to cleanse itself overnight. At the time, I was impressed, but I didn’t think it would last.