“KARIBU” I was clueless as I read it in the JOMO KENYATTA International Airport at Nairobi, Kenya. With the anxiety and inquisitiveness I moved on along with my colleague to the immigration. After few question the immigration officer stamped my passport, well this made me happy as a child who just received his exam paper. Now with the passport stamped my anxiety was gone but was still inquisitive to know more about Nairobi.
Caleb, was our driver who received us at the airport. First thing I did was asked him what does “Karibu” mean and he said with a smiling face “WELCOME”. The first word that I learnt in Swahili was “KARIBU” meaning “Welcome”.
Caleb drove us to Nairobi Gymkhana and we passed through the city. The city resembled more like any Indian city with public transport, cars, road side vendors, mosque and many shops with Indian name. I felt home away from home.
Nairobi at this time was like being in any hill station in India, thanks to its 1600 Mtrs elevation above the sea level. It has the hustle bustle like any big city in India.
We reached Nairobi Gymkhana, which never reminded me that I was away from India. The rooms were clean and could be compared to any Sports club’s room in Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India)
The same day I went to Dar-es –Salaam, a slower city in comparison to Nairobi. But the excellent service in The PROTEA- Courtyard impressed me a lot. For the next 2 days we met different organisations, some well-known industrialists and visited couple of manufacturing set-ups. I must say some manufacturing set-ups really impressed me with the impeccable cleanliness and professionalism. GEMBA-Kaizen, 5 S have been implemented in most of the units I visited. The corporates offices that we visited were with the best of the interiors. We went for dinner at Karambezi café in Hotel Sea Cliff (www.hotelseacliff.com) which had excellent location, food and interiors. Hotel Sea Cliff also has Alcove which also serves Indian menu. Also visit “EPIDOR” for authentic LEBANESE cuisine.
We returned back after spending 2 days in Dar-es-Salaam to Nairobi. The remaining 4 days in Nairobi were packed with meetings & industrial visits.
Today when I look back and see my first trip to Nairobi & Dar-es-Salaam I never felt I was away from India. I had the luxury of having Indian Food (At Chowpaty, Nairobi), meeting Indian entrepreneur and professionals, seeing Indian TV Channels, visiting temples/ mosque and also calling back India with mobile tariff as low as 1.28/ minutes. Now I realise wrong we are when we perceive this place as hostile locations. I must say people are friendly and warm. Well security is a concern as most of the residents say but again it could be avoided with precautions. The weather was pleasant in Nairobi but is humid in Dar-es-Salaam. Education is also good till university level with many Indian & International schools. Speaking to some Indian expats I also got a feedback that their kids like the way it’s taught out here. Kids have an overall development. If given a chance I would never hesitate to relocate along with my family.
Friends after this visit I strongly understand the words of Denis Waitley “You must understand that seeing is believing, but also know that believing is seeing.”
So see and feel AFRICAN Countries on your own or believe the words of people who have been there and have seen and felt these countries rather than on those people who has never been there.
Some Swahili words that I learnt:
Asante: Thank You
Habari yako? – How are you doing?
Habari za asubuhi? – Good morning
Habari za mchana? – Good afternoon
Habari za jioni? – Good evening
Mambo? – What’s up?
Answered with Poa! -I’m cool!
pita kulia – turn right
pita kushoto-turn left
upande wa kushoto- left side
upande – side, direction
chakula -food, meal
chakula cha asubuhi -breakfast
chakula cha mchana -lunch
chakula cha jioni – dinner