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February 19, 2019

Love Letter to Nairobi

Nairobi is my favourite city in the whole world. I love this city. The dust, the traffic, the fact that right now it is a huge construction site, I love it all.

And just when I am about to relegate matatus to ‘necessary evil’ status, a makanga will insult me or crack a joke about me putting on my make-up in the car and I will remember that not only are they necessary, matatus make Nairobi more colourful.

 Last weekend was tragic, horrific, terrifying and we will be reeling from our losses for months. Some who lost loved ones will never be the same again. Right now we are all a little more cynical and fearful than we were on September 1. It is sad. We are sad, Nairobi is sad.

 While I love the buildings and the beauty of this city, it is you the person, the basic unit of Nairobi that truly melts my heart and cracks my face into a toothy grin.

This is a hustler’s town. Nairobi lends herself to dreamers, those who have the audacity to hope for a better tomorrow and actually pursue it.

Nairobi isn’t nice, in fact she is bad mannered and rude. She is as moody as a teenager girl… sometimes she moves fast and on time, other times she is late, rolls her eyes and you have to deal with it because ‘it’s ne’er that serious!’

 People attacked my favourite city and we, the people, the fundamental building blocks of this city, said ‘Hell no!’ Shaken? Yes. Traumatized? For a time. But broken? Never.

 I love that our security forces were on ground doing their best to get people out of Westgate. I love that we gave blood, so much blood we have been asked to come back next month.

I love that we passed on messages of hope and information. I love that we prayed. I love that we are giving money for funerals. I love that by Tuesday morning we had raised Sh45 million. I love the journalists who stood in proximity of danger and maiming to tell us what was going on.

I love every single volunteer who lent hands, time and support to the rescue mission. I love that we crossed tribal, religious and racial lines to help each other get through this. I love that our president took his time to say the right thing because his words will stay with us for years to come.

I love that we are hugging each other and remembering love in the face of senseless hate and malice. I love that we went to work on Monday and continued to hustle.

 I love that Nairobi is still standing, still strong, still lending herself to our dreams. It may be a little too early to give thanks but if our attackers have shown us anything indubitably, it is that we are made of some serious fibre. If you have never been here, you must come.

If you are really really lucky, you may just get to live and dream and manifest here. I am proud to call myself ‘mzaliwa Nairobi’ and oh so proud and inspired to be Kenyan! Nairobi, we jitokelezead!

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