Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nairobi Star vs. Nation Media Group

Went to the Nairobi Star today. This is the number three national newspaper in Kenya and was terrifically impressed with how open minded they are and how eager they are to compete. Finished another round of meetings at the NMG and ended on an upbeat note with "Doc." a medical doctor who is in charge of marketing and circulation. Very open minded and we decided we would try to move the needle on pushing subscription sales...they have about 3,000 home delivered subscriptions in the entire country of over 34 million people...more or less.

Found out that the unemployment rate here in Nairobi amongst adults is 52%...imagine that? While much here is similar to Latin America, there is so much that I have never seen or heard of. Every day, I find myself with my mouth open and asking...did I just hear you say....??

I am all set to go to a National Preserve Saturday, leaving at 6 a.m. And then, after that, I will go to Kibera, the largest slum in the country and then on to the John E. Halgrim orphanage which houses kids who came from that slum. I am taking the suitcase of shoes, clothing and school supplies my neighbors and the employees from The News-Press donated. Should be great to see kids and hear some excitement. But, as my friend Tara mentioned, the whole animal thing would upset her and could me, if I see any carnage going on.

Thought I was eating elephant for dinner tonight but, instead, had a delicious dish of calamari. Each ring, which was spiced nicely, was maybe six inches in diameter. The hugest calamari rings I have ever eaten. And as a side dish, they served a small ramekin of highly spiced hot peppered olives of every kind. Very good. For lunch, I ate a vegetable curry with spinach and some other green veggie which I asked about and the waiter explained it, using a Kikuyu word. When I asked for the English, she wasn't sure if there was a name for it in English!

I have learned "bye-bye" in Kiswahili: kwaheri. I think I can say, "bye-bye" in six languages now. Never know when you need this. Am making friends with the guards and every morning, Juma, a guard about 25 years old makes me practice my Kiswahili from the prior day and adds two or three new words. This evening, as I was leaving, he added "goodbye" which I promptly greeted the other guards with...left them all laughing.

When I got back from buying my cell phone and eating lunch, I greeted Rachel with, "nemerudi" and when she looked oddly at me, I suggested she wasn't up on her Kiswahili...she just started typing. I am a bit of a third wheel here. Rachel has her work and is in the situation of showing me around, introducing me and helping me get settled and organized. And that takes time from her busy day...while I think I am helping in the long run, day to day, I am sure I am more work for her.

Took a cab from Nation Media Group to the Nairobi Star. I suggested after about 10 mintues that the cab driver of two days ago hadn't gone this way, knowing that I had NOT gone to the Nairobi Star, he said "oh, we are turning soon." We got to the paper and he said, "how much did you pay the other day?" I told him to tell me what he charged. He said "700kshillings." Told him I had paid 500 and gave him a tip of 100 ksh, or about $1.25 tip. He laughed and I told him I had grey hair and came by it honestly. Rachel said 500 was about right. Gotta give the guy credit for trying.

Time for bed and you all are still at work!!


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