Newspaper Gems

I love paging through newspapers when I travel, and lounging around coffee shops with a stash of whatever newspapers are available, is a simple joy I indulge in where ever I can. If one gets past the “doom and gloom” articles and avoid the politics, newspapers almost always have a gem or two on offer. While paging through Kenya’s weekendSTAR for 13/14 October, I stumbled upon two gems.

The first one deals with weddings under the heading: “How we managed our BUDGET” and it invites readers to answer a couple of questions relating to the cost of their Big Day. This week it was Caroline and Noel who announced to the world that they spent ‘Sh 1.2 million for their 400 guests in Nairobi’. That equates to about ZAR 120 000 or USD 15 000. I found it interesting that the newspaper has a regular feature like this in a country where poverty is rife, and that people have a desire for others to know how much money they have to spend on one single event, as it seems a tad boastful and gloating to me.

The other gem reveals a delightful sense of humour. In this article James Murua makes fun of human nature and the real estate boom that seems to have hit Nairobi and lists a couple of amenities he reckons apartment blocks should have to lure prospective buyers. After talking about security issues under the headline, Facilities we need to see in apartments, he jumps to health:

“Health is another important aspect of the living experience. One should have a special line for an ambulance with doctors to come whenever a medical emergency arises. This should include when one is suffering from a serious hangover.         

This should also apply to younger people in the house in need of superior psychiatric help as they mature. The shrinks will assure the children that they are not ugly and they just need their body to grow out to its natural and proper shape to see their outer and internal beauty. This will apply even if the evidence suggests that the child is taking up the traits of the ugliest people on either side of your families.”

He continues by pointing out various necessary amenities for recreation:

“Social amenities are an important aspect of life since human beings are social animals. There will be a need for a place where people can socialise. People in this town specialise in drinking as a social sport. This will be a very popular sport but some other sports might be useful. A swimming pool where people sit around in their ‘bikinis’ and swimming costumes and poke a toe to check on temperature without getting in would be very popular.”

The Kenyans in general are warm-hearted and friendly, and despite the political turmoil that occasionally vies with similar issues found in a myriad other countries for headline attention in the international press, it is a wonderful and safe place to travel in. Everywhere you go you are greeted with a cheerful and emphatic: Karibu! – Welcome!

This is perhaps the property boom James refers to in his article, as was spotted by me just after take-off from Wilson Airport in Nairobi.