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January 20, 2019

Try the Nairobi marriage challenge

Viva Lounge, Kandara Road, Kileleshwa.
Viva Lounge, Kandara Road, Kileleshwa.

A few days ago, presidents drawn from 50 African states were hosted by the the USA President Barack Obama for a three-day summit which focussed on security, investment and trade of the continent.

The trip made me realise that Kenya is neither looking East nor West but looking left and right before crossing the road. With African presidents endorsing all things American, then perhaps we should ape their recent fads – you know, to go with the flow.

One of the weird games I have watched online, that originates from the West is ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In this challenge, a person pours a bucket of cold water over their heads, and then challenge another person to either do the same or donate a certain amount of money to charity.

Some of the people who have taken up the challenge are the very rich and famous celebrities like billionaires Bill Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook), Jeff Bezos (, footballers Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Darren Fletcher (Manchester United) among others.

Now that Nairobians are not the type to be left behind, they should copy the challenge and do it their own way. The problem is we don't have the technology to execute the challenge in Kenya. First, I'm yet to understand what ALS, also known as the Lou Gehrig disease, is.

From what I have read, it is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that affects a very small population, with the patients having symptoms that many of us are not familiar with.

Anyone showing symptoms such as difficulty in speaking and 'rapid progressive weakness' in Kenya would probably require that their family members quickly call a number on 'Mganga kutokoa Pemba' (herbalist from Pemba) and order for charms to help their kin recover from the rare illness.

Then there is the issue of the ice cold water. With the frequent power outages – thank to Kenya Power – Nairobians have gotten used to showering in cold water. Ice does not come by easily in Kenya – funny that when we get it, we don't get the chance to use it for the right purposes.

The Ice Bucket Challenge might not be an easy sell in Nairobi – I believe there are other challenges that would be more appealing to the locals as they would easily identify with them.

How about a marriage challenge? This would involve having a bride and her bridegroom record their wedding and upload it on YouTube video. They would challenge their closest friends to do the same in a year, failure to which they would have to donate items to a children's home of their choice.

The idea would work well because a good number of people have been made to believe that the way to show love and compassion to the less fortunate is by buying bundles of unga (flour) and numerous sacks of maize and having them ferried to a children's home.

The 'philanthropists' would use the opportunity to take photos with the beaming children, happy that someone cares and thinks about them. If the donors have a high standing in the society, the photos would find their way to business pictorials in newspapers to publicise their latest CSR activities – an act of branded kindness.

Of course before you see the PR photos on the newspapers, they would first be uploaded on their Facebook pages for all to see the 'philanthropists' looking out for the welfare of the needy.

The other challenge that the partners would be expected to overcome in marriage would to have a drama-free marriage for one year. The couple would not be allowed to engage in marital squabbles even when they rub each other the wrong way.

They would be penalised for discussing their domestic quarrels outside their home. The husband would be prohibited to rant at his wife for spending more than Sh25,000 on a pair on shoes, money meant to pay rent for their two-bedroom apartment. They would only be free to discuss the issue after one year has elapsed.

Should the husband decide to wear his Arsenal or Gor Mahia jersey to a wedding, and insists that his wife accompanies him, his wife would not be expected to raise a complaint.

Not even when her husband, who would be following match updates on his phone, shouts as the ceremony is going on, after his favourite team scores a goal.

Should the wife decide to change her hairstyle from her natural look to the flowing weaves worn by Vera Sidika or trim her hair like Lupita Nyong'o, the man would not be expected to say a word – not even if his wife looks like an alien in her new look.

Should the husband decide to hang out at the Florida 2000 (a joint mostly frequented by college students) on a Sunday afternoon for a jam session to rejuvenate himself, his spouse would not be allowed to make noise about it until an year is over.

This is quite a difficult challenge for married couples to partake, and I foresee many couples posting photos of food donations to Mama Fatuma Children's Home on their Facebook pages.


Venue review

Viva Lounge, Kandara Road, Kileleshwa

I have been reviewing bars and lounges for the last seven years and I have to say that their set up has changed so much. When I started, many pubs didn't seem to care much about their clients' comfort, and some did not bother keep their washrooms clean or have a decent décor.

Nowadays, pub owners are investing in good service to delight their customers for repeat businesses. Viva Lounge on Kandara Road in Kileleshwa was renovated recently. Kileleshwa was once the home to the affluent but that changed after Runda estate came up.

I visited the joint on a Monday afternoon. The lounge is in a bungalow and has been partitioned to sections where one can have a drink privately. The lounge has clean washrooms, great décor, free WiFi and TV for sports fans. The lounge has enough emergency exits.

Wheelchair users can easily access the pub as it is on a bungalow. There are bandas outside the lounge for those who want some fresh air as they indulge.

It is also fitted with large heaters for use during cold weather. The pub plays soft music that allows customers to converse without having to shout. There is a dance floor.

My cold Tusker retailed at Sh200 which is not exorbitant considering the location and the services. On that day I espied a new drink Desperado that is being promoted as the only beer with a tequila flavour.

I didn't like it but those who drink Mexica brew Corona, might love it. The pork I ordered was great – juicy and tender, something rare to find in this town. The pub, which was opened late last year, attracts both young and old punters. They all blend in so well.

However, the services were slow despite the few number of customers it had. The pub has a small parking lot, and if you go to the pub on a Friday evening, you will have to park your car by the roadside.

Public transport is not convenient for punters staying late into the night as matatus plying the area retire early. I recommend this place for its great décor, safe location, cool crowd and great food.

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