The African Youth Talent Summit 2018 was scheduled to be hold on the 21st of July 2018 in Nairobi. This is one of those times I was directly involved in planning for an event abroad. It was fun and I was grateful to my friend Onyeka Matthew who invited me to participate in this opportunity to serve, learn and share a little of what I know with lots of African Youths.
The AYTS Summit is an initiative put in place by Onyeka Matthew and his partners and it is aimed to raise world class youth leaders all over the African continent and this he hopes to achieve by the annual youth summits in different cities in Africa and by also having a sustained impact of the summits by creating Youth Networks in different African cities. This was huge and I was glad he got me involved working with him and his team. Part of the reasons I had planned a visit to Kenya was to partake in this event and also do my African tour. Further details of the activities of AYTS Summit and Networks can be found on the organization’s website on www.aytsummit.org.
The D-day for the event finally came and I left the house as early as I could to get there by 8am which is the official time for the commencement. The event started with several youths from different secondary schools and universities present. I was in a panel of four discussants and our conversation was around what are the likely reasons why youths in Africa are not self-motivated and inspired.
The event finished around 2pm and it was time to see Nairobi as I wanted. The first place I had to visit was the Nairobi Stock Exchange. I wanted to ask them several questions about their operations and see a colleague of mine in Lagos who was working there then. When I introduced myself and where I was coming from, I was introduced to a member of their Information Technology team Eric.
Unfortunately, I was informed that my colleague was not at work that day – I could have called before coming but I wanted the visit to be a surprise. I appreciated the little time I spent with Eric as we discussed a few things about their processes, operations, systems platforms and listed companies. They were no match near Nigeria in all.
Leaving the Nairobi Exchange, I headed straight to see the city around Westland Road. Nairobi is clean and beautiful. There were lots of nice and modern building everywhere. The people were warm, calm and kind. People were so kind to direct me to where ever it was I was going.
I was very tired and worn out from the day’s event. Wondering of what to eat, I noticed a ‘Food is Ready’ in front of a wooden local food restaurant, when I confirmed what I read on the board, I stepped in to eat. I have at one time or the other eaten most of the dishes they had except for Chapati which I was told was one of the very Kenyan dishes. I made an order for some Chapati – the cost was around 160 Kenya Shillings.
Chapati, which is made from whole wheat flour is a staple food in many places in East Africa and Asia. Depending on one’s taste, it can be prepared with salt, oil, mixed with a little water and cooked.
The meal was served with an avocado pear fruit. What I could say about the whole arrangement was that it helped to quench my hunger temporarily. It tasted tasteless and personally, I would have preferred it either sweet or salty. There was an option of an accompanying stew or meat sauce – I went for the meat sauce.
Nothing remarkable happened that day except for an experience with a Bolt (Taxify) driver who drove me home. The gentleman started by requesting me to buy him lunch of which I told him that I would not be able to do so because I did not have enough cash on me. “What of buying with MPESA?” he snapped. I told him I do not use MPESA. MPESA is a mobile money technology in Kenya which is used to send or receive cash and it is used by mostly by Kenyans and a few other East Africans.
Like if though he was not satisfied with my explanation, he continued with this request and I decided in my thoughts I was going to report him to his company. His actions might have been fueled also by the fact he noticed am from Nigeria and might be rich from a ‘dirty’ deal. When he was done with the trip, he requested for me to give me my phone so he show me something. When I gave him the phone, he quickly rated himself 5/5 for the trip and submitted the response to Bolt (Taxify) and hence I could not rate him the way I had wanted to and there was no opportunity to provide my intended comments and remarks about his behaviors – he read my mind maybe. I had promised myself to write to Bolt to complain about this and the man’s behaviour but never did.
Getting around in Nairobi is very expensive if one does not understand the local bus network. I took lots of Taxify taxis the first time and I spent a lot initially but eventually, I learnt of other alternatives, in fact, I had once gone on a motorcycle to the airport in Nairobi. I’ve used the local buses around a lot. Even used the local taxis on a few occasions – thanks to Uber and Bolt which will give you an idea of what a trip will cost.
Fred Ian is a Kenyan friend I met several years ago on Don Meon’s Facebook Fan page and we have since become good friends. Himself, his wife and their young daughter live in Nairobi. I mentioned to him I was in town the day I arrived, he invited me over to his house for a tea (Kenyans love tea) with his family. Unfortunately, I was meant to see him that same day but for a few reasons, I could not make it to go visit them. We rescheduled the next day.
The day was concluded with an outing with someone Nigerian and Kenyan friends and of course my host Val. We talked about life in Kenya for foreign students and businessmen. They told stories of several Nigerians and foreigners who had to marry Kenyan wife just in order to get residential papers to live and do business in Kenya. These foreigners and Nigerians who married Kenyans wives end up being taken advantage of by their spouses who are Kenyans, this is also because the laws of the land which always favors the woman to file divorce that could see the man losing everything he has acquired in Kenya to the woman. This also happened to other foreign nationals in Kenya. I was however surprised how my uncle who has been married to a Kenyan for more than 20 years has been able to survive her and is still happily living with her till date in Nairobi.
There were other stories about the type of life some Nigerians live in Kenya that is not very nice. Some I was told come into Kenya to do internet fraud, online pornography and peddle drugs. This they do in collaboration with some Kenya citizens or other nationals. When I understood this, I saw why their authorities were very strict on me when I arrived the country the first time that I was deported because I said I was coming for tourism.
Immigration sees tourism as something people always take advantage of to visit their countries especially when one is to get visa on arrival like it is in Kenya. I had previously discussed a few tips on how to make visa on arrival easier for travelers and tourist on my last post on this series.
I also had a conversations with some locals about one of the official languages which is Swahili. The language, according to available records, evolved from local Bantu language spoken by people living on the coast of East Africa. Several words from the language were derived from Arabic, this is as a result of the fact that lots of Arabs traded with people in the East of Africa and somehow, their influence rubbed off on the local language. As much as more than 1500 Swahili words are Arabic and the Swahili itself is an Arabic word for Coastal People. There was also a period of Portuguese influence around the 1500 – 1700 and then that of the British colonialists in the 1920’s made an attempt to standardize the language in the region.
I left my friends to retire to my bed. I was very much excited with the activities of the day but was much more excited about the next day. I would be flying to Maputo in Mozambique!