Things have officially returned to normal in Nairobi: restaurants are packed, store shelves are well stocked, and people are being rude and obnoxious for no good reason. It is almost as if the last week never happened. And yet as I see the members of our privileged class going about their daily chores, I can’t help but wonder what’s going on in the Other Nairobi, the Real Nairobi where waiters aren’t bringing people sushi and water is less easy to come by than a turn of the tap or a quick trip to Nakkumatt.
It has amazed me how many people I have heard complain over the last few days about not having their housekeeper around, or how their cook still hasn’t made it into work. These people live in huge homes that were miles from any riots or unrest and yet they can’t see beyond their barbed wire walls at what has been going on around them. I realize that you probably think that I’m much the same as the people I have just described but I hope that I’m not. I hope that I am someone who has seen this humanitarian disaster for what it is – a tragedy.
Writer’s block kept me away from the blog over the weekend, as did the tension that has been building up not only inside me but all over Nairobi and Kenya as a whole. In high school, we used to have a day in Drama Class where we could just scream out our tensions – primal screams I called them. That’s what I think is needed here – a chance to release our anger at the politicians without violence and have our voices be heard.
Moderators from the African Union and the US among others have arrived to try to talk some sense into Kibaki and Odinga. While everyone is hopeful, few people are willing to voice the fear that these two men are too far gone in their quest for power to listen to reason. Although Raila Odinga finally cancelled the rally that was planned for tomorrow, no one is sure what the immediate future holds or what will happen if calmer heads don’t soon prevail.