October 15, 2010

Going to Nairobi? Stay with my friend Tom at International Guest House.

Today while figuring out some logistical issues for a research project I'm coordinating in Eastleigh, Nairobi, I happened to stumble across the website of my good friend Tom Kamau.  Today I when I found his new website, International Guest House, I felt that I should make a point to share with everyone. I'm not normally inclined to promote a particular business or product, but this is an exceptional case.

Last time I was in Nairobi, I was in a very difficult situation.  Given the large gap between rich and poor, it can be a challenge to find a place to live.  To find an apartment in Nairobi with only a couple hundred dollars in my pocket, I had no visible options.  It would not have been safe to move into one of the slums, nor could I live with my friends in East Leigh.  I also wanted a place within walking distance of downtown where I was working everyday.   I was left to wander the city and find a place, with only a few days to do so.

One day I was wandering through Upper Hill, looking for a particular guesthouse  I used to frequent, only to discover it had been fully abandoned.  Walking down a side street I saw a sign for the International Guest House, and after passing through the gate, I met Tom Kamau and discussed my need for housing.  When I met Tom, he was a long time successful businessman who was struggling with the sudden loss of tourism prompted by the US recession.   He also understood that I was in a difficult situation and out of kindness offered me an apartment on his property within range of something I could afford.

I immediately moved in, and found that Tom continued on multiple occasions to provide help with any problem I might have.  In exchange I tried to find ways to help Tom better market his business and attract more guests by discussing website development and online marketing strategies.  Unfortunately I had to leave before I could really do as much as I wanted, but as Nairobi is one of those difficult places to avoid, I'm certain that I will always continue to stay at the International Guest House every time I return to Kenya.  If anyone else happens to be in the area and needs a place to stay, make a point to check it out.

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