November 23, 2009

A New Day In Nairobi


What a day.
I have officially left Cairo and relocated to Nairobi, Kenya today.  I am also quite that I'll be back in Cairo on various occasions in the future.  Cairo was dusty, tense, and loud yet like a case of bronchitis or emphysema, it never really seems to go away.  People who have spent a fair amount of time in Cairo often end up back in Cairo.  Its understandable of course, as it is remarkably expat friendly. With a few hundred dollars and a basic grasp of the English language, one can probably live in Cairo indefinitely.  The only demand is flexibility.

In Cairo, the inconsistent enforcement of migration laws will allow you to remain for years, get an apartment, get an internship,  get a job in a kindergarten, and maybe get a bank account (in that order).   I will admit however, that my will to be flexible reached a plateau, and it was at that point my time in Cairo began to deteriorate.  I was tired of being in school, tired of working jobs that only partially correspond to my career goals, and tired of working for free. I came to Cairo because I wanted to be in sub-saharan Africa, yet didn't have sufficient resources to make that happen. The longer I stayed, the more frustrated I became, but this is not the fault of Egypt - it was my own.  Nonetheless I will miss Cairo and much of the life that I've had there.

As of today, I am now in pursuit of something different. I boarded a plane at 2 am, and flew to Khartoum Sudan, made a connection to Addis Addaba Ethiopia, and about 4 hours later, landed in Nairobi Kenya.  I stepped off the plane into a brilliant sunlight, with clean, breathable air and strong blowing wind.  Immediately upon arrival I was reminded of why I love this place.

As for now, I'm bombarded with an array of logistical and employment related tasks.  I am still working out where I will be living, my prospective personal budget, the full details of my job.  I still need to find my office, meet an array of partners, get familiarized with the products being created within the computer centers.  Fortunately I don't have the frustrations of also having to discover Nairobi, as knowing where to buy groceries, how to use the bus system, and a relative sense of market prices is invaluable.  Since I don't have to fumble around town lost and frustrated, it saves a lot of time.

The only complication thus far concerns where I am staying for the short term.  I intended to stay with a friend for a few weeks, yet it is obviously clear for various reasons that I need a different situation.  I am staying tonight, but tomorrow I will seek out a hostel somewhere and stay there for the next week or so.  Hopefully I will go to Dadaab on Sunday, although this plan is tentative at best.  I'll pass on more info as I have it.