Saturday, January 13, 2007

The capital city of Nairobi

the Drive through Boane
Originally uploaded by make_change.
This photo is certainly not Nairobi - it is absolutely the opposite. Nairobi is a busy congested city with skyscrapers in the downtown core and all the businesses you little heart will ever need in a limited brand fashion. I found a local gym today with stairclimbers, weights and aerobics studio for around $3 a day if I sign up for 3 months. That's fairly comparable to back home. I have fallen for the Nakumatt - the superstore of Kenya - and found everything that I need - umbrella, hangers and an extension cord and fruit juice boxes! Certainly less garbage around the streets and they have green-suited cleaners spraying down the sidewalks in the morning. So far, very comfortable working in this city for the IDRC.

Living only 15 minutes from the office is utterly convenient which is why I'm in the office this afternoon. Actually, I think this is one of the special aspects about working for this institution. Flexible hours for a researcher as ideas don't necessarily develop from a 9-5 fashion. They have incredible research resources at my disposal. Full-on online library, sattelite high-speed internet connection (coming from Canada, crazy!), a driver who does a weekly run for staff to town for any necessities... and they provide French language training for the staff. I'm thinking about cleaning up the French a bit myself. I should look into that.

Only real downside is not being near the ocean that I have grown to love. Even after I left Belgium, I vowed not to return to a landlock, mountainless place. However, things change, and Nairobi is a place where it can happen - Mombasa is near by (beach!), the national park with animals is less than an hour outside and I am still in the place I love, Africa.

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