Wednesday, March 04, 2009


What is in a name, what is in a place really? have been hearing so much of a heavenly place called olepolos. Every Ouma, Wanyonyi and Rajwayi who have visited the place has indicated to me that am not worth my salt if i hadn't. Well I have never felt bad not being worth my salt for not visiting olepolos but this last week, a friend of mine offered together with his wife to treat me to lunch at the the place. It was a spontaneous and wild idea but it sounded the best in the month. So we set off to the south of the city. Passed through ongata rongai, and kiserian. and i saw for the first time the place which in the late '90s was the place to buy land if you were a Kenyan man whose balls had filled his palm. I don't know the criteria women used to buy land there. But somehow everyone I knew was talking of settling in Kiserian.

I thought olepolos would be near there but we still had quite a drive, nice hills, beautiful open lands basically bare and uninhabited save for a few huts here and there. My friend said the land belonged to maasai but the dotted settlements and farm lands belonged to bright Kikuyu men (I wonder why not women). We passed some beautiful looking young people trekking, they were a sharp contrast to the area and my friend offered that they most probably were university students on an excursion or sponsored walk. This guy is sharp and had an explanation for everything we met upto why they were the way they were.

After a few more twists and turns we got to a place with more thorn shrubs than the mara. But the soil was black clay like my neighborhood in Nairobi. The friends wife said that Karen used to look like that. In fact she offered that Karen which people these days struggle to get to was actually maasai land before they were driven out by white men and a few bright, you guessed it Kikuyu men. Two more winds and we turn into olepolos. Am getting excited that finally I would be worth my salt. As we drive in am getting a feeling of lost since there are just a few shades and lots of smoke. what is surprising is that several 'strong' cars with powerful plates in colors of power are parked around. I ask my two 'guides' if they think there is a function. No its just normal traffic at olepolos. In the middle of nowhere there are many people roasting meat here drinking and chatting merrily. There is actually nothing much and thats what makes the place outstanding. Nothingness, openness, bare land with no confines, no buildings just open skies and unforgiving heat.

We ordered lamb and chicken which took about an hour to be ready while we had a good chat and laugh and drank lots of novida. its actually not bad after all. However the chicken and meat were disappointing, it wasn't roasted that well but when I saw everyone around me enjoying the feast, I played along. funny thing people were still streaming in even at 5PM some with their kids!

Way back we decide to go see Titus Naikuni's house on the way to isinya. The guys house is actually an attraction. My friend said Naikuni stays there and travels all this way everyday to go to work at KQ headquarters in Nairobi. the house is to say the least a masterpiece. we saw it from afar but it was clear that a lot of thought, money and man hours went into putting it up. It actually looks like an hotel or an institution. (kuna watu na viatu! )

He is in a very big compound and a lot of free open land all around him. I was reminded again that Karen used to be like that before John Keen subdivided it and sold it off. Apparently John Keen owned most of Karen if not all.

After that we pushed the road-master hard to get to Nairobi before dusk and then counted myself as a been-to.

As a by the way though ,on passing, am I the only one disturbed that all the catholic bishops, archbishops and even a cardinal who are great close friends of our president are not advising him or even telling him that rejecting your family and child in public is not only shameful but also sinful. I know in the catholic teaching having a child outside marriage is considered adulterous and sinful but what is the difference between what Kibaki did on Tuesday and abortion? Catholics reject abortion, right?


  1. Ah, my friend you have given me sweet memories of home. I have not been to Olepolos but I was in Rongai and Kiserian about a year ago. Tell me, barabara ime-improve?

    I hope to visit again soon and this time, I will be sure to visit the middle of nowhere for some nyama choma.

    Matters between a man and his wife are private. That press conference should never have occured.

  2. the roads past kiserian are worse, but somehow I never noticed that. maybe coz there was little traffic added to the happy feeling of freedom that the area gives you. Karibu sana when you come, now that i was well guided , i can even be your guide!

  3. Something to do when next I come to Nairobi. Sounds like a nice lazy afternoon drive. I also need a guide.

    The press conference was unfortunate. I read a past interview of Winnie saying that the worst day of her life was the day her Dad stood in front of the nation and denied her as a daughter. That was after the first statement Kibaki gave not this current one.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful post! Really takes me back :)


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