The week here in Nairobi has been absolutely wonderful, and I am so thankful to Naziha's family for making me feel like I have yet another home away from home. As her adopted sister for the week, I've gotten to live like I was born and raised here, visiting all of the local places, having lots of chai and coffee, and really getting a feel for the laid-back lifestyle here.
On Saturday, I got a taste of how the youth in Nairobi party. And boy, do they party hard! Naziha and I were picked up by a couple of the guys, now familiar faces after the BBQ Thursday evening, and we made our way to the first club. Ali, another friend from Western, who's presently doing an internship in Nairobi, met up with us, along with his cousin Azhar, and friend Alykhan both also from Western, in addition to a couple other friends from Nairobi. The first club, Gypsies, was fun, and attracted quite the interesting crowd, including lots of foreigners, older expats, young tourists, and locals of all ages. By 1:30am, we were beat and ready to go to bed, but they all convinced Ali and I that the night was still young, and led us to the next club, called Treehouse. This place was awesome, with amazing DJs and a really cool vibe. However, Ali and I, as the two Canadians who are used to clubs closing at 2am back home, were absolutely exhausted, and looked pretty weak when we sat down for a while at 3:30am just recharging our batteries while our group kept on going! We ended up leaving Treehouse at around 5:30am, which is apparently still early for Nairobi standards! I cannot believe how they can do this on a regular basis, and with so much energy too! I'm also quite impressed that they can all function perfectly well the next day; what tanks they all are!
Sunday morning we slept in a tad, before getting ready for a family day. We visited Naziha's parents' company's new office space, which is being renovated presently, before heading to the outskirts of town to do some furniture shopping. Afterwards, we made our way to the famous restaurant called Carnivore for lunch. As the name suggests, this restaurant features meat, and boy was it delicious!
We then made our way over to the Nairobi National Park, where instead of going on a safari through the park, we walked into the Animal Orphanage. The orphanage is home to numerous wounded or orphaned animals from around East Africa, and serves as a sort of rehabilitation centre for some, and simply a safe haven for others. They are all caged, but treated very well, and it is therefore kind of like an exotic zoo.
Aleeda does some really cool work in the tech space in the developing world, and she actually launched M-Pesa, the famous mobile money service in Kenya with Safaricom, back in 2005. She has since been doing all sorts of neat things, so in the morning, I got to go with her to the launch of the Nairobi Innovation Hub's User Experience Lab, which featured a talk by Google's Director of EMEA, Steve Rogers. Some of her clients that she consults for were present at the talk, so I got to meet all sorts of brilliant people, and get a sense of the energy and excitement that is surrounding tech in Kenya presently.
We then went for lunch before I got to meet her youngest daughter, Kayla, who is just eight months old. She then dropped me off at Naziha's home, where I remembered to take a picture before we said farewell. It was so wonderful catching up with Aleeda, and I'm so glad we became more than babysitter-babysitee, but grown-up friends over this reunion as well!