Nairobi, the Green city under the Sun, that’s what we call it. Every time I close my eyes and think about it, what comes to my mind? The constant honking of Matatus, the warm atmosphere filled with hot air, and the foxy but charming smiles of street vendors; it just screams ‘Home’! My city, my home in my motherland Africa. A city full of rich and vibrant colours depicted in its metropolitan nature. Nairobi is a boiling pot of all cultures; it is where all these peoples of Kenya converge to make one single city defined not by their differences but by the belief in the notion of ‘one people’. A city where people are unified by one thing, ‘Hustling’ – a phrase in the dictionary, equated to ‘crime’ or ‘acquiring things illicitly’, but to the Nairobian ‘hustle’ is nothing like that; it’s the art of positively working hard to achieve your goals through the little means available. Just like for Americans what the USA is, Nairobi is the Land of Opportunities to the people of Kenya. Nairobi is where everyone from the countryside dreams of; because it is where people’s dreams come true!
Enkare Nairobi as the Maa people call it, which implies a place of ‘cool waters’. It is the only city in the world with a national park; where you can watch the wildlife as the sun sets down the hills. It is a beauty to behold but the beauty of Nairobi does not end there in the game but it is also found within the people. First time I left my village for Nairobi, I remember that day like yesterday because of how nervous I was because I could not calm down, all the uncertainties of a new place stood there glaring at me. So many questions ran through my mind; will I fit in or will I struggle and become a reject? When I arrived the city embraced me and it automatically felt like home, to me Nairobi has become my home away from home.
A city of opportunities and friendly people is surely the best place to grow and achieve one’s potential, that is what this city means to me. The amount of growth that I have experienced since I stepped foot in this city is astonishing; went from a shy young boy who had just completed high school to now an all confident young gentleman. Nairobi has taught me so many lessons, but the one that stands out for me is the importance of knowing how to live with people; interpersonal skills are vital to survive in any environment. The way you treat others will directly determine how you will be treated. Nairobi has taught me about respect.
Respect goes both ways and it does not have a compromise. In a city full of diverse people who live in harmony the only tenet that promotes this kind of unity is the respect that individuals have for each other. In Nairobi everyone is allowed to practice their own beliefs as long as you are not interfering with their own ‘hustle”. A society whereby there are no judgmental people even though we have these stereotypes that have been deeply embedded in the society you will still find the people of Nairobi united and no matter your background everyone is considered a Nairobian. Respect is very important if we want to achieve equality in our societies because we all are born with human dignity and recognizing one’s dignity will shape the way we treat them. Nairobi has shown me that we can still earn respect despite coming from different walks of life; even when we dwell in our lowly lives we can still be treated with respect.
Written by: Raymond Kigai