Not so long time ago, when I first set foot on the paved pathways of the city in pursuit of my university degree, I was told tales of the famous or infamous “Industrial Area”. Well, for those of you who may not be familiar with the ways of Nairobi City, this is the area that is set aside for the establishment of industries according to the Municipal zoning regulations. As such, it is a major source of income especially for the lower and middle class income and of course the high income folks in the managerial and supervisory levels. This goes without saying that 80% of the persons who work in Industrial Area are handy men or manual labourers, most of whom have basic academic qualifications.
You must have gotten a rough picture of how the place looks like by now; huge factory buildings and warehouses whose original colour is indecipherable define the landscape, what with the smoke and dust being emitted all around? Noise from machinery and moving traffic are the norm. Men in soiled overalls, helmets and safety boots roam the walkways in Industrial area. The only women you will find in Industrial Area are those in executive positions, secretaries or those who supply food to the workers. It is not a place for pretty little suits, ties or heels.
I remember the state of disbelief I was in when I learnt the firm that I would be attached to for the next 3 months of my life was in Industrial area. The walk to the bus station at the other end of town seemed unusually long, what with my caveman’s laptop strapped securely on my back. I boarded the buses that would deliver me to the lion’s den at half past 8am only to reach my destination at around 11. The traffic snarl up was a nightmare, a 5 to 10 minute drive on a good day had evolved into close to two hours, that’s Nairobi for you.
By the time I arrived at the office, I was too irritable and the only thing that calmed me down was the serene office. For a moment I forgot about the horrible external environment and decided to lose myself in the beautiful space before me.
Reality struck me once more when 5pm approached and I had to make my way back to the hostel. The journey back was a more gruesome experience, what with the congestion, polluted air and the traffic jam that seemed to be in an unending standstill.
It’s going to be a looooooooooooong 3 months for me, I can already see myself shedding weight involuntarily… and to think I am 47kgs as it is. It’s going to be hard, but then again, I’ve never been a softie, I won’t allow myself to quit so easily.
So here’s to all hardworking people, those who go through extreme lengths and circumstances to make sure they succeed in life. Here’s to Industrial area, and finally, here’s to me never going back to those sides ever again. This experience is already enough as it seems -_-