The slum gurus of Nairobi
Can Agribusiness Make a Difference?
Busy. That’s the first word that comes to your mind as you wind your way through Eastleigh. It is the neighborhood of one of Africa’s oldest slums, Majengo. Eastleigh is also home to one of the biggest business centers in Nairobi, Kenya, involving business of over 600 million dollars every month.
“You can find everything in Eastleigh,” laughs Clive Wanguthi, as I wonder how to describe him – local guide, community worker, leader, activist, or preacher – perhaps, all of these. Weaving his way expertly through the milling crowd, Clive cautions, “Stay ahead of me, I want to ensure that you are safe.”
Indeed, after getting nearly hit by two vehicles, I take his advice and stay more cautious, which is somewhat difficult, given the riot of activity around.
“I’ve got your back,” the former self-proclaimed outlaw, encourages me, as we walk through multiple distractions. “You can’t be too careful here.” A street-side store with the cheeky name of ‘Donald Trump’ blares its wares, while gold jewelry in little trays gleam at you for a song in dim lanes. Lines of steaming chapatti-beans food stalls and glowering gun-toting cops assail your senses, as Clive calls out an ‘As-salaam-alaikum’ every few seconds to an acquaintance. Everyone is busy.