precious

 

“Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives”. – Alexander Dumas.

 

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Hello beautiful people 🙂

It’s pretty obvious by now what this post is about. I spent an entire day with my sister from another father and mother, Nafisa, after eight years. She moved to the UK after high school with her entire family and we’d always stayed in touch. We’d started off as ‘best friends’ in our second year of high school but quickly chucked that label a few months in when our friendship grew into sisterhood. You could say we’re complete opposites, and I guess that’s what makes us perfect for each other. She always has such great advice, so confident and always stands up for me when I need her most, I love her ❤

She landed in Kenya a few days before I got back from my trip to Bahrain and went to Mombasa to visit her family so we only got to spend one day together, the day she was traveling back to London. I planned out a day full of touristy stuff to do with her for the few hours we’d be together and hope to explore Nairobi more to have a few more activities for next time 🙂

Hope this list gives you some ideas on fun things to do on a day out with your friend(s) 🙂

  1. Enjoy a meal together:

    We had a great healthy breakfast at Brood which was a few minutes away from our first activity for the day. Food puts you in a great mood, and you don’t want hunger getting you cranky and low on energy in what should be a happy and exciting occasion. We had chicken sandwiches on honey oat bread at Brood with some tea.

  2. Be real:

    Talk about life! Ambitions, love, dreams. Listen to each other and exchange ideas. Getting it all out in a day after eight years away from each other was hardly enough but it’s good for the soul 🙂

  3. Do something fun, preferably outdoors 🙂

    Because fun memories last forever. I need to grow my list of fun places to visit in Nairobi, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments! I’m that person who discovers a place and goes to it forever. But anyway, we went to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and The Giraffe Center. I’ve written about both places before on the blog, you can find the links below.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Their website.

The Giraffe Center.
Their website.

Lastly, Ramadhan kareem to all my Muslim readers 🙂
May Allah accept our fast and prayers.

And happy weekend to everyone! 🙂

this one’s for the foodies in the house

Well that’s a long title.

But yes, this one’s for the foodies in the house.

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I had the juiciest burgers with my friend Viola at About Thyme last Saturday on the last day of the Nairobi Burger Festival. We hadn’t even planned for it, it just happened. Life is quite funny in that way; When we plan things they don’t work out, but somehow spontaneity tends to work in our favour! The idea was to have some girl time together and catch up on life. We start off light and then into heavier topics – work, life goals, books, music and TV shows.

What are you reading? What are you watching? How is your heart? Work? Family? Tell me about your dreams. Maybe with time we’ll talk more about money and finances, I just love such real conversations. I digress. Back to my foodies.

I’m salivating just typing this out because I’m remembering my teeth sinking into that juicy burger! Slurp!

About Thyme Big, Beefy, Fully Loaded Bacon Cheese Burgers

Charcoal grilled aged ‘Morendat Farm’ beef burger on a toasted sesame bun with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes & gherkins with a choice of toppings.

Had mine without the bacon of course.

Toppings: Mushroom Swiss

With emmental cheese & sautéed mushrooms

All burgers are served with fries & ‘kale-slaw’ (Ni coleslaw ile iko na sukuma na si cabbage!)

All this yumminess for Kshs. 1,500/-

Downed it with a ‘Very berry’ smoothie which was as good as it sounds.

Want to know how to top off a killer burger? Grab some donuts from Donuts World in Westlands. HEH! Acha tu!

My favourite was the cinnamon one, yumm.

Sema food coma?!

PS. Mama Rocks is still my number 1 go-to burger spot in Nairobi *drool*

the village in the city

“It frequently occurs in the growth of cities that villages are absorbed into the fabric of that city. But what are the consequences of this? How far and how do these villages become part of the overall fabric of the city? How does this affect the village, and what is the effect on the wider city?”

Excerpt from ‘Do Villages Shape Our Cities?’ – Wafa Al Ghatam.

 

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The force is strong with a title like that.

Remember how I mentioned in my previous post that I ‘briefly’ popped by Adliya with my cousins? It was the the third day of my trip and luckily this exhibition was on at the Al Riwaq Art Space. Imagine my excitement when I saw it was the result of research by a female Arab architect! That’s how I met Wafa – approachable, friendly and a creative. I couldn’t engage her for long that first time as she was about to be interviewed for a magazine/ television station so we exchanged contacts and agreed to be in touch.

With two days to the end of my trip, I reached out to her with the intention of both enjoying the gallery a little more, and interviewing Wafa for the blog. I had finally found a female architect from a similar cultural background as myself whom I could look up to, and from a quick Google search of her name, her credentials left me not only inspired, but enthusiastic too – like maybe I stand a chance at being not only good, but great at something too, you know? We agreed to meet at 4 pm at the Art Space on the evening before I left back for Nairobi to have a chat.

The phrase, ‘The Village In The City’, was first coined in a book by Nicholas Taylor in 1973, explains Wafa. Most of the time, the projects architects get involved in tend to be consumed only by a select few – those in the construction industry, professors, fellow architects or the client. Having an exhibition as such was meant to demystify and simplify the results of her research in such a manner that anyone would be interested to not only understand but also ask more questions about what they see. It’s meant to be engaging to the public. In summary, it is a study on how the growth of the city (Manama) has affected the villages, taking Muharraq as an example.

We spent about an hour discussing different things – from her entire research (in summary of course), and then onto women in architecture and what her advice would be to a recent graduate like myself. ‘Practice for about one or two years, and then you could proceed to further your studies’. At this point, Maryam joins the conversation. She’s an architect too, now doing her masters in London. ‘These days, students finish their Bachelors and want to go straight into doing their Masters. But how can you do your Masters without even knowing what to do, or what you like?’ she adds. My interaction with Wafa was more of a discussion than an interview, so towards the end of our discussion we walked around the exhibition to understand her thought process behind the items on display, and for me to take pictures of course.

Children, women, men, tourists like myself may walk into the space and view the printed images, text boards and even a plywood physical model. ‘The children love the model most,’ she says. I can see why, this laser cut technology has been around for a couple of years and is just beginning to grow in the Kenyan context as well. Upstairs, a cutout of the city map is placed on the ceiling and backlit from above creating an interesting play of shadows on the walls and floor. ‘What was the concept behind this piece?’ I ask Wafa. ‘In the shadow of the city,’ she responds.

‘Have you been to Muharraq?’ she asks.
‘Not really, I just drove by and my cousin pointed it out to me,’ I respond.
‘Would you like to go? I can take you there briefly. It’s fascinating how they live in their village. I trained some of my students to help me with the research and each one was stationed at a place so they helped me observe the patterns. The women especially are interesting subjects – within the village they can walk around in their ordinary clothes but once they leave their village, it’s no longer home territory so they wear their traditional abaya‘, she explains.

We left the gallery and drove by Bab al Bahrain, and since I’d never been, she parked her Jeep on the side street and walked me through the streets, explaining how they were planned, the whole while it being a discussion. I added that it feels like the streets in the coast of Kenya, Mombasa. We got to walk through Little India as well, an Indian neighborhood and briefly observed their patterns and how the spaces were planned. I got to buy a few souvenirs, and at this point my uncle called me to be back home so we couldn’t go to Muharraq.

We talked about a lot, but I remember asking her if there were a few things I could take from our conversation what would it be?

  1. Travel. You not only get to see and experience new places, but even grow as an individual through interacting with different people. This is a sentiment even Urko Sanchez conveyed to me when I interviewed him when writing my thesis.
  2. Ask questions. It’s always better to engage in open-minded discussions and not just take every information as truth, even though it may be factual. Make it a habit to understand the reasoning behind information you come across, make it a discussion and not a ‘lecture’.
  3. Experience in your chosen field is very important before pursuing further studies. If an opportunity does arise however, take it but get involved in practice too on the side. Be a lecturer’s assistant or get a part time job. The important thing is to always grow your skillset and gain experience.

In other news, the BAKE Awards gala took place last night 🙂
We didn’t win the title for Best Travel Blog this year but I’d just like to say a big thank you to all my readers! All those who nominated me, and voted for me. The nomination was such a huge affirmation to me, and I’m so grateful because either way I left the gala even more ambitious and positive as I would have if I won the award 🙂

Love and good vibes ❤