A city, stalled

Future movement? Rebuilt roads aim to ease Nairobi’s infamous congestion Mike Pflanz discusses Nairobi’s notorious traffic jams, and sees the efforts being made to break the bottlenecks THIKA ROAD, April 21, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – Let’s think of this city as a body. Let’s think of its heart as its businesses, pumping vitality and sustaining circulation. Let’s think of its brain as its universities, schools, and policy panels, all – in theory – scheming for a brighter future. Its soul, let’s imagine somewhere in its pubs, clubs, churches, mosques and temples, and in its family homes. Its roads, then, are its arteries, veins and capillaries, keeping the whole system alive. Here, today, in Nairobi, they have became so clogged that we are slipping into coma.

Railroad rebirth?

A schoolboy watches from the window as a commuter train passes people walking to work in Nairobi’s outskirts Mike Pflanz joins commuters on one of a recently doubled number of early morning train services to the city. Does this signal a rebirth of the railroad that helped create the country that is Kenya? ON THE 06:40am TO NAIROBI, April 12, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – We pull slowly out of Athi River station, leaving behind the run-down railroad shed that is now home to the Jesus Victory Center and a tinshack kindergarten. Ahead, an hour-long commute, through the Athi plains once swarming with wildlife, beneath final-approach to the international airport, through the smoggy iron-roof slums and the industrial area, and into the heart of Nairobi. “Ah, we love this thing,” smiles Steve Nyahe, 40, a graphic designer, who like most aboard the train used to have to sit cramped in a Read More…

“You have to be faster”

“You have to be faster"

Emmanuel Sinzole weaves his minibus taxi through Nairobi’s morning traffic | Photo: Brendan Bannon Mike Pflanz rides the matatus through Nairobi’s sun-rise stress and rush-hour hustle KAWANGWARE, April 1, 2011 (Daily Dispatches) – It’s already past 7:15am and Catherine, a 32-year-old civil servant, knows she’ll be late for work. It’s less than two-and-a-half miles from the Petro gas station, the start of the Route 46 bus near her home in Kawangware, to her Upper Hill office just west of the city centre. But that will take Catherine at least an hour this morning, as steady sheets of dawn rain fell and traffic crawled along the slum’s choked streets.