Saturday, May 22, 2010


It seems that the only flights that go to Nairobi arrive in the middle of the night and that was the case for us. After a pretty uneventful flight we arrived at 3:30 in the morning. Rebecca had arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport and Munini was there with his Nadiya and Sumeera sign right as we exited the baggage claim. At one point, when he took a shortcut on some random side road we were very relieved that the driver was someone Rebeccah knew because if it had been anyone else, we would have been peeing our pants from being convinced that we were being kidnapped.

We arrived to the Slum Gardens (the UN intern housing used to be slums but now it is quite nice!) to poor Rebecca who had to be up in the middle of the night for our arrival. In case I don't mention it a hundred times in my discussion of this trip, Rebecca is the best friend ever. She told us everything we needed to know about being in Nairobi and brought us breakfast food for the morning and finally headed to bed after six even though she had work the next morning! What an all-star.
The next morning, the first thing we did was get a SIM for the phone so we would have a way to stay in touch with Rebecca. We had planned to meet her for lunch and headed over to the UN offices. We were in awe of how beautiful Naiorbi was. There were flowers I hadn't seen in any of the botanical gardens I had been to in the world. And after being in Cairo and Istanbul, Nadiya and I were blown away by all the green. We were in heaven!

The UN cafeteria is ridiculous. Ridiculously good. The offices are done so well and integrate all the greenery outside into the buildings. Nadiya and I spent a minute or two fantasizing about working at the UN in Nairobi. After lunch we went around and met some of Rebecca's co-workers and finally headed out.

Our next stop was to a Masaai Market which was amaazzing. We spent a good three hours or shopping and were able to get some amazing things. When we first walked in, we had to do our best not to drool so we wouldn't get totally ripped off on everything we planned to buy. Becs had told us that everything should cost around 2-300 shillings and that was a good guide. I think we got some good deals because we were so ruthless about sticking within that range for the smaller things.

Exhausted, we headed back to Rebeccas where she was having a barbeque with 20 or so friend which led to a nice evening tour outside chatting with lots of interesting people and eating barbecued pineapple. It was there that we heard many, many amazing things about Lamu. One guy said that once we got there, we would never, ever leave. Others said it was like paradise on Earth. The next morning at 8 am we would fly out to Lamu to see what all the hype was about. Would we love it? Would we hate it? Would we meet a man who had a lamb that followed him everywhere?? Stay tuned.


  1. Hi Sumeera! I came across your blog from a google search for "slum gardens" and Nairobi... I'm a girl from Melbourne, Australia who is travelling to Nairobi at the end of May and a couple of previous UNON interns have recommended that I stay at Slum Gardens. I can't seem to find any contact details for the place, however... if you have any tips it would be much appreciated!

    I'm on Couchsurfing if you want to send me a message:

    Hope this isn't too bizarre approaching you via your blog!



  2. Hi Emma,

    It is not strange at all! That is what the world wide web is for. :)

    I contacted my friend and she gave the information below:

    Slum gardens is mostly interns and is about a ten minute walk from the UN. The name is a bit misleading. It is numerous detached housing units in a large garden and is very safe. We had separate bedrooms -- some rooms have shared toilets and showers and others have private ones. It is also close to the village market, which has a supermarket, stores and restaurants.

    The only way I know to get in touch is by calling the on-site manager for details: +254-720484308. Her name is Wambui and she lives there as well as manages the cleaning and daily goings-on.

    I think the rooms went for about 20,000 Ksh or 22,500 Ksh/month (for private bathroom), plus 2500/month for cleaning and laundry service. I really liked living there and my roommates were all very nice!

  3. Ah that's great! I also came across this blog on a search for 'slum gardens' and this is really useful! Although seeing as I might have to organise my accommodation before I arrive, does Wambui have an email address?

  4. Hi! I actually also came across this blog from a search for 'slum gardens'!
    I have to organise my accommodation I think before I arrive in Nairobi however, does Wambui therefore have an email address I could contact them with?

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Welcome! I don't have any email contact information, just the phone number above. Maybe you can try calling through google voice?



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