Nairobi 2.0

This past week I took my second trip to Nairobi. This time it was for the International Conference of Non-Conventional Building Materials and Technologies (IC-NOCMAT). Since I was coming from Kampala I decided to save money and take the bus. The cost was $45 roundtrip instead of $300! The bus departed on Sunday night at 7pm and I made a special request to the driver to drop me in Limuru which was on the way and saved me the time of going into the city only to come back out again. It was a 14 hour journey! I managed to get at least a few hours of sleep after walking to the front of the bus and asking the driver to turn off the music. I think music on overnight buses has become a real pet peeve of mine and I am getting bolder!

After getting off in Limuru I walked a short way to a nearby gas station and then called a boda to pick me up and take me to where the Shaws live. I visited them the last time I was in Nairobi and they are in the same neighbourhood but have moved to a different house. It was a warm reunion and extra large because other international CI staff were there! The first day was full of naps between times of catching up. In the late morning I went on a walk with Kate to Browns Cheese which make delicious cheeses, crackers and apparently ice cream too. Once back at the house I filled up on some of the best crackers and gouda I have had in a long time! In the early evening I went on a walk with the Lawsons and Martins to the tea fields. It was so beautiful! I enjoyed the fresh air and peacefulness that comes from being outside the city. The next day I had to get a bunch of work done since I wouldn’t have the chance to do any for the following three days of the conference. Other people needed to get work done too which created a nice working atmosphere. That night for dinner Kate made lasagna because I had told her it was my favourite. I was so spoiled!

Jon, Kate and the kids were headed to Nairobi early the next morning and so I was able to get a ride with them. We went to a cafe called Le Grenier à Pain, and I enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate and pain au chocalat before saying my farewells. I ordered an Uber to take me to my Airbnb to drop off my bags before continuing to the university for day 1 of the conference. The location of the apartment building where the Airbnb was located wasn’t obvious but after asking around I found the entrance. The street was busy and a bit ruddy, but the unit itself was well furnished and peaceful. The price was right at $20 per night and the place was only a short walk from the university. I was running a bit late dropping off my bags, but decided to walk to the university anyways in order to get my bearings. The university proved easy to find as the conference was being held at the University of Nairobi Towers which is a clear landmark. I was thankful for the time I had catching up with old friends and also for the opportunity to learn more about alternative building materials! Day 1 of the conference was a bamboo workshop which I will share about in my next post!

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