A report published by the Francis ole Kaparo-led National Cohesion and Intergration Commission earlier in the week was damning where our society is concerned. It was said that many Kenyans don't trust one another for a variety of reasons. The distrust amongst us is most seen in parts of the country with historical inequalities like in the northern parts of the country. However it has been seen in urban centres as well and observing my brethren, I couldn't agree more.
I have been seeing untrustworthy behaviour for many years in my life and this makes me a naturally suspicious gentleman. It didn't start just the other day. I still bitterly recall my primary schoolmate, Benjamin stealing Sh1 which I had been saving to buy roasted maize at the side of the road in the 1980s. I have never trusted anyone with the name Benjamin ever since and I would have loved to have been interviewed for this survey to show that our pain is real.
Then there was Cynthia who I took to the Win-A-Car Disco Dance Competitions in the early 1990s and she decided while at the event to hang out with another unknown fellow. Having spent hundreds of shillings for hers and my entrance fee as well as drinks, you can imagine my resentment. Since then, for a long time when I went on a date with anyone and they spent more than 10 minutes in the washroom I was known to be very unreasonable as I feel I am being played.
These kind of experiences are the norm in this city so you can't really be surprised that Nairobians are less trustworthy than you'd want them to be. Our mistrust has been earned after years of hurt and pain. At all occasions that we go through as a people we see opportunities to grow our mistrust. Take for instance attending the most basic and beloved of human activities for a Nairobi resident: weddings. The wedding ceremony is a simple enough affair as it tends to be at a religious place so it is solemn. The untrustworthy action is concentrated at the reception. When you attend the reception in your sari or other finery, you get a warning from the emcee that not everyone who came there came with good intentions. If you leave your phone, expensive leather jacker, fancy gift or even your girlfriend or boyfriend unattended, anything is possible. The physical products can easily be stolen by people who are watching your actions, which include leaving them to excitedly join the bride and groom dancing to 'Sura Yako' by Sauti Sol. The friend, lady or gentleman, who you came with in the hope of something happening later, might vanish fast like my 'Cynthia' as you are busy chatting with your friend from college. Your chat with them about the good old days when food cost Sh40 at the nearby kibanda suddenly seems hallow as she is seen leaving in the latest BMW/Mercedes Benz/Audi.
It's not only human beings that leave you realising that your property is unsafe when you are at the reception, leading you to be more untrustworthy. Don't be shocked as you head toward your chair with a meal, after lining up for a long time, when suddenly a hawk swoops from the sky and steals your cherished chicken. You now learn that not only are humans the only groups to be suspicious of but now the list includes kites and flying beasts.
When you eventually get the meal down your stomach after beating the beasts of the land and the air, don't be surprised to find that the caterer who served the food could have been much better. While trying to save on cash the couple hired Benjamin and Cythia Caterers Ltd. Benjamin and Cynthia caterers are of course the most dodgy people in the market, the name is the clue, and thus when you go home, you spend the next weekend near a toilet, cursing all Benjamins and Cynthias. If it's so bad you will be forced to go to your local hospital for treatment.
So you wonder why Nairobi folk are so suspicious of everything around them? It's not very complicated.
Venue review: Cake City, Westlands Road
A good friend of mine told me about this place in Westlands where one could get an alcohol-free experience and still enjoy their afternoon. The lack of alcohol was very attractive to me on Sunday afternoon as I was suffering from a massive hangover after a night out in the town. I was in Westlands so I opted to try this place they call the Cake City.
The Cake City fashions itself as a bakery and cafe and when I did go to the place the options for seating weren't too many. There was a little area on the right where one could order, and there were many options, all of them non-alcoholic. With my predicament of a massive hangover, the ones that see a Nairobian promising never to drink again as they suffer on a Sunday morning, this was welcome. On offers were smoothies, shakes and other versions of soft drinks that one could drink on a warm afternoon. I settled for a cold vanilla milkshake which was retailing at Sh250 which might sound reasonable because the place is in Westlands. In truth however, these kinds of prices are the reasons people rightly tag Nairobi as one of the most expensive place on the continent.
With my cold shake I settle on one of the long bar stools, one of four around a large brown barre. For those who must there were other slightly more reasonable seat and TV sizes. I enjoyed the climate around and followed the traffic passing on Westlands Road where I was having my hangover killer. The décor in the place is really good for someone who has come with a family and with the cakes and the like this was a place I would bring my family in the holiday season.
Eventually I was done with my drink and I started looking for a washroom. I didn't look very hard or there is none in this place for those who have been enjoying their product on site.
A quick recap for the venue;
Good: Great service, decent décor, family friendly products like shakes, disability friendly, emergency exits available.
Bad: No alcohol, No TV for sports,
My Verdict: It's Christmastime. This is a great place to take your bored kids in the house or conversely people who you intend to have kids with.