This is Githurai, the area where I stayed while I was in Nairobi and where Christ’s Victory Centre school is located.
The central shopping area is very busy – lots of people and lots of traffic which takes absolutely no notice of any of the rules of the road. You are very likely to find a motorbike travelling up the wrong side of the road and forcing its way through a seemingly impossibly small space! The three-wheeler tuk tuks are a popular and cheap form of local transport. They and the buses which go to other parts of Nairobi – and which often play incredibly loud music – can get very crowded as they cram in as many people as possible. This apparent chaos can be overwhelming at first, but it does get easier with time.
The school is in a residential area which is much quieter. Much of the housing is very basic and a family will often live in one or two small rooms in a multi-storey block. Some people have to collect water from a central tank as it is not piped into their homes, and sanitation is not always good, you don’t want to think too much about what is in some of the open ditches around the area. You often see cows and goats walking around, sometimes in quite large groups. There is high unemployment and not every child is in school, people often struggle to put food on the table and pay their rent. The lack of opportunities lead some people into crime and drugs. Having said that, I felt perfectly safe walking around with my friends who live and work in the area.
People are friendly and will stop and say hi in the street. The children would often shout “Muzungu” (white person) when they saw me walking by, and many wanted to touch my hand. This is just curiosity – Githurai is not a tourist area so they don’t see many non-African visitors apart from a few international volunteers working with local organisations.
Although there are many problems, the area is full of life!
Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version.