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.HENNEKE'S BLOG 

Whatever ... 2011 ... this must be # twenty

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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Coastweek -- New Nairobi road: The builders are making fast progress, but itís a big job and the site manager tells me the contract is for two years.

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Those rough stones
are my rough stones

In a classic sign of the Kenyan economy, the
overall foreman, who appears from time to
time in light grey-green overalls, is Chinese

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Coastweek -- Itís a sign of progress in Nairobi that they are finally tarmac-ing my dirt road, and Iím all in favour of progress.

For one, it means it will take me five minutes to get to the main road rather than the current fifteen as I pick my way over rough stones and distinctly uneven ground (ignoring all the women sailing past in heels).

But still I canít help it, Iíve got mixed feelings.

Those rough stones are my rough stones.

That open crossing at the river, where you hope you donít get bumped in by a passing car, makes up my vivid memory of when I first arrived, in April, to live in Nairobi.

Lazarus picked me up at the airport at 7.00 a.m., and thanks to his intimate knowledge of bypasses, we managed to avoid the horrendous rush hour traffic and arrived at my new apartment in 30 minutes flat.

From JKIA to Westlands in 30 minutes in rush hour Ė now that is impressive.

As we turned off the main road and began our lurch along the dirt road (or bumpy road as itís appositely known around here), he turned to me and asked:

"Do you have roads like this in the UK?"

"No", I replied.

"Ah", he smiled, "then that is another thing we have in Kenya that you donít".

The builders (who Iím informed are an external company, not local) are making fast progress, but itís a big job and the site manager tells me the contract is for two years.

In a classic sign of the Kenyan economy, the overall foreman, who appears from time to time in light grey-green overalls, is Chinese.

Coastweek -- I wonder what will happen to the little open air enterprises such as this car fixing yard.

As I clamber over the mounds of earth, avoiding the swing of the digger and hoping not to fall into the river, I wonder what will happen to the little open air enterprises Ė the car fixing yard, the stalls selling tomatoes eggs and sweets, the lunch stops, and the corn roasters.

What about the bike fixing shop at the end of the road Ė the one that you only know is there because suddenly one day there will be four bikes upended next to each other, while the next it will be just a bit of dirt road at the corner again.

I very much hope they can survive and thrive.

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