Time to think beyond Nairobi

There is no space in Nairobi! Everybody is ditching their village for the city and now it seems to be buckling under the weight.

Think about it. As soon as someone is done with Form Four they are shipped off to co-habit with relatives in the city to get a job. They are rarely, if ever, encouraged to stay at home; read village, use their education to be creative and earn themselves a living.

So now the city is full of jobless people while the villages are slowly emptying of people waiting their turn to cohabit and who are in effect unemployed.

While watching television this weekend I saw a story about the ‘new’ life of a retiree whose farming is earning him some good living. I also happened to speak to some Bukusus – my relatives – who say that at least nowadays the payments for sugar cane come sooner rather than later and if you are keen, you can live very comfortably in the village.

We have the stima loan to light up the darkness, and in terms of water, you will get it where you usually do. So what is everyone coming to do in Nairobi?

Every plot that was free about two months ago – and you can backdate this – is now groaning under the weight of a high storey apartment block. And even heavier is the toll on water and electricity supply. To top this all up, the apartment block is usually quickly done and not much of a looker. The soaring unemployment is giving young people ideas on how to steal better, and the name of the game is cutting corners or getting the best deal – whether honourably or dishonourably.

I think that since we’ve begun to see the essence of things like the environment, which we always used to take for granted, we should give this issue some serious thought.

Driving down to the village you can see that there are several opportunities passing young people by. They’re too busy waiting to cohabit and don’t think of getting a small patch of land to grow vegetables on or starting a wind farm or a business planning weddings.

The more people stay in the village, the more opportunities they can present and soon enough we can have towns that run themselves. Even digitally.

Let this rural-urban migration be a thing of the past as it used to happen that Kenyans blindly trusted in the government to solve all their issues. A place like Malindi for instance is super fertile but most people would rather flock to the town centre for handouts from tourists. They then resort to petty theft when it’s low season.

To use one of the most irritating clichés in the country; Kenyans need to think outside the box!

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