Sunday, May 10, 2009

"This is Africa"

So... I'm back in Kenya and committed, for the next little while, to stay on top of my blog. I feel totally disconnected from all of you and want to make a better effort to make you informed of my life and be informed of yours.

So, basically, I'm living in Kenya now. Every day, I go jogging in the morning (I get the funny stares from everyone, because running is huge here - but seemingly only for men). Then I ride bus no. 46 to work (I pay 40 Kenyan shillings, or about 50 cents). I work out of Bloomberg's office here, mostly continuing to cover Sudan. (I do analysis, or call people by phone, etc). But I've become increasingly frustrated with not doing any work in the field, and I'm trying to engage myself a little more with my surroundings - ie. to actually feel that I am in Africa and not just sitting in front of a computer screen. Then I ride the bus home again in horrible traffic, pick up groceries from the supermarket and make dinner. Pretty normal life really.

But there are always reminders.

The other day I was reading the newspaper on the way to work and found a tiny article, hidden on page 6, about the murder of a politician. He had been on way his home at 10pm one day, when a car drove by, shot his tires flat, and then kept driving. He got out of his car to ask for help, and the same car drove by and shot him in the head four times, again driving away, without stealing anything.

I was shocked. It was a two-paragraph story on page 6 !!! I showed it to my Kenyan colleague when I got to work. He hadn't even noticed the story. The Kenyan capital Nairobi is known to have high crime, but not like this! He said the politician must have been mixed up in some shady business and this was payback. Then he went back to his desk as if it was nothing.

"This is Africa," he said.

p.s. For those of you who are now freaking out, Kenya is overall a very good place to live. There are no wars, and quite a bit of development - a step up from Sudan anyway! But the next day, the newspaper showed the pictures of 26 men who had been killed in execution-style killings in the last two months alone. I expressed some concern about this to my colleague, and he said, as long as you're straight in your dealings, you'll have no problems. Let's hope so!


sean said...

Beware the Mungiki!

Kamal Shaath said...

Well.... Finally some interesting writing on your Blog :)

Glad to know you are doing well, I look forward to reading more of your writings. Take Care and Stay Safe.