1 St Petersburg Square,
Re: On your visit to Kenya
It has come to the attention of all us who live in East Africa that you, Pope Francis the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, will be visiting this part of the world next month. We want to welcome you to the country that gave the world an English queen, an American president and quail eggs as a delicacy billed as the best thing since sliced bread. You are lucky that at this time, the Kidero Grass that was aimed for the visit of another world leader is ready for you in all of its glory.
Your life experiences inspire many of us. You have gone on record as having swept floors, worked in a chemistry lab, taught literature and psychology, as well as guarded the door as the bouncer at a Buenos Aires nightclub. Bouncers who have gone afoul of the law locally for beating up innocent patrons can look to your example knowing that they, too, could one day become important people. Cleaners who are known to for cleaning homes for Sh300 and not doing a stellar job can know that the future has a lot in store for them. And those who attack other literature people in the newspapers weekly can rest assured their futures aren't doomed to defending their positions.
As you make your plans to come to Kenya, we have noted that whenever you go visiting a nation you rarely go for the most high-profile sights, but instead go to where those who are suffering the most can be found. Therefore, instead of hobnobbing with the American senators on your visit to the USA, you opted instead to serve at a soup kitchen in Washington – that country's capital. If your formula is to visit the afflicted, those in pain and those in need then you couldn't have come to a better destination.
People in this town are always in pain come rain or shine; ask anyone about how they are doing and their response is likely to be, “we are just trying” or “we are just there”. This person who is suffering is telling you this while walking out of their Range Rover straight from the showroom as they sport a suit worth Sh500,000. If these folks are just trying, imagine what the rest of us are going through?
As you come through your eminence, I know you will be tempted to go to the favourite destination of Kenyan 'poorism' at the moment – Kibra formerly known as Kibera. After all your clothing has been made in Kangemi – another part of the city not famed for its well heeled residents – so no need to to go back. I will suggest with the amount of interest in Kibra, you will find that people aren't as badly off as the movies and the news reports suggest.
If you are looking at a place not doing so well, I suggest you visit the Karen area of Nairobi an area with probably the largest number of catholic nuns and brothers outside of the Vatican. You can console these large number of adults who most Nairobians consider to be out of their minds with their strange vows of chastity. This is because any Nairobian in their right mind will consider someone who vows to remain chaste all their lives out of choice, and not because they are unwell – socially inept or extremely unattractive – to suffering the worlds worst problems.
You might think I am being a bit extreme, but even the church exhibits this extreme thirst here in the Green City in the Sun. If you don't believe me, you only need to follow Kenyan Twitter trends this week and note the biggest social trend was “Bro Ocholla”. It emerged when a male member of a church Whatsapp group showed their thirst to one of its members to the amusement of all.
Apart from this small matter, I would like to know if you could intercede on behalf of all Christians with the God and his son on a few matters. On the big ones, I know that you will be briefed by the other important Kenyans that will no doubt brief you; mine is to tell you the ones that concern us the wananchi. Could you please pray that the Heavenly Father intercedes when a law-abiding Kenyan citizen going to work is told by a uniformed security official to produce a receipt for the laptop he is walking in the streets with. While some will rightly fob of this security officer for trying to fleece the citizen, some are intimidated and may have to deliver.
Venue review: Fifth Avenue Jazz Bar, Laico Regency, Off Uhuru Highway
Arsenal Vs Bayern Munich – it was billed to be the biggest European champions league match last Tuesday evening and there was no way I would be missing it as a lover of all things football. On that day I was attending a function at the Laico Regency in town and the event happened to end just around the time that the game was starting. Not wanting to miss a minute of the action, I opted to watch the game in a hotel bar there that I hadn't known about before called the Fifth Avenue Jazz Bar.
This bar is really small; a small room with a counter at the right if its entrance where a friendly bar man was seated. At the front of the pub there are flags of several countries, which unfortunately I was unable to decipher the pattern of the countries represented. I surmise they were the flags of the countries taking part in the Rugby World Cup in England. At the outside there is also a couple of barrels for the drinker who wants to enjoy their drinks at a higher level.
I settled in the place, in the extremely comfortable seats, with my three other friends and we ordered our drinks; the beers were each retailing at Sh450, which was a bit of a shocker to the system. I realise this is a five-star hotel so you are supposed to expect these prices but it was still quite scary. This is because folks of my modest wages cannot drink there for long periods.
As the beers, which were thankfully chilled at the perfect temperature, came I focused my attentions on the TV to my right and watched what was supposed to be the biggest match of the season for many football fans. At the bar drinking with us? No one. I have been reviewing venues for a while now and it is very rare when my party are the only people in a place like it was here. This meant the two extremely friendly barmen, one behind the counter and one outside, follow the game as we chat with the convivially about it.
When the first half ended we opted to leave for a more reasonably priced establishment. I couldn't be at a table where one round of drinks meant parting with Sh2,000 on the 20th of the month, so far away from payday.
A quick recap of the venue:
Good: Decent décor, great service, TV for the football fanatics, disability friendly, clean washrooms, clear emergency exits.
My verdict: This one you go during a special occasion with a special friend. That's assuming you can afford Sh1,000 for each round with your special friend.