Quotidian Amazement

I have gotten this question a lot: “what do you do everyday?” My answer is always, “I run around the city, meet new and incredible people, and play with kids.”

While that is mainly true, it is not the big picture. My main goal for this month is to know the market as much as possible and to talk to as many targeted end-users of my startup as possible. I work with partner organizations, active community members, and fellow social entrepreneurs, and shadow them while making new connections. I talk to a variety of people about my idea and organize focus groups in targeted areas to figure out their exact needs and how my product can benefit them. The idea is to get as much qualitative and quantitative, although the latter is rarer, data as possible. In short two weeks, my work has taken me to primary schools in the Kibera slums, vocational schools in Eastleigh and Westlands, Somali refugee community groups in the Mathare slums, government meetings in the Central Business District, NGOs in Upper Hill/Kilimani, and the list goes on.

Everyday, I am learning something new. I think this is what is so attractive about Nairobi- the seemingly mundane always has a surprise (good or bad) and one has to be flexible to deal with it. Even taking the matatu, shared taxi, is an experience every time I take it.

I have not had a lot of time to visit tourist attractions (really need to go on a safari though) because of work. But the time spent with people after work and on weekends has been amazing. I’ve never really “partied” (except for work or for very close friends) in college. So Nairobi is a change. I love going out at 7 or 8 PM and chat with different people over drinks or dinner until 10 or 11. The bonds I have formed with fellow expats and Kenyans have made my experience in Nairobi feel so much fuller.

Up next: entrepreneurship classes in Langata Women’s Prison and Dadaab refugee camp near the Somali border. Also going to Mombasa this weekend- so pumped for the beach!


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