1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
No. I grew up in the village. I grew up in Eldama Ravine in the Rift Valley. In my early years I studied at our local village primary school until 2003. I then joined Koelel High School in Gilgil, Nakuru county. I can say Koelel prepared me for today. I also met new friends there whom we are still friends to date.
I grew up in the village in my early years and I would herd livestock during weekends, after school in the afternoons and on holidays. During this time, we could go ‘swimming’. This was when it rained and there was lots of water in the herd fields. These are some of the things I miss about growing up upcountry. There was not much entertainment in the village. The only gadget we could get hold of was a radio. By the way I acquired a small radio when I was in class 4! I was ‘rich’. We also used to burn charcoal during the holidays, I hope no conservationist is reading this.
I moved to Nairobi when I came to Kenyatta University to study Economics and Finance and I fell in love with the city. I came to Nairobi alone for the first time when I came to revise JAB courses at the university of Nairobi. On my way to Nairobi I had to inform the matatu driver that I will alight at university way (there used to be a bus stop around there). My brother was to pick me here. He had told me that I should alight at the stage after a roundabout. So when we were in the first round about in Westlands (there was another round about at museum hill) I shouted ‘driver university way… nashuka University Way’. I did that 3 times and everyone was looking at me. Even the person I was seated next to never bothered to tell me we are not yet at university way. That’s how Nairobian’s behave when you look like a mad man. They mind their own business.
2. What you love about Nairobi?
Connectivity, Opportunities and Business.
With connectivity comes opportunity. I live online. Connectivity make my life easy. You can identify opportunities, explore and become better.
This town is so busy; everyone is always up to something. It means there more productivity.
Another thing about the city is there is a lot of pressure to be better which I love.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
Public transport system. I wish we can change transport system and make rail the main transport means, introduce trams and revert everything to be operated by government. Then we will forget about traffic jams.
When you are in Europe and you think about Nairobi you ask yourself what really went wrong. Nairobi needs a Messiah in the form of a Governor, who will rise and really deal with the problems of the city with honesty.
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
As a digital media professional internet is everything. Nairobi provides what I need. I can telecommute/work from home or get work done from anywhere. This environment helps me focus, network and find new opportunities.
New media is big here and it’s the biggest opportunity. It creates news and determines what will be the news or what will happen tomorrow.
5. If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting.
Great places to eat and indulge and of course awesome people.
The Nairobi National Park- of course it’s the only National park in a city around the world.
We have good internet connectivity.
If you would like to interact with Oliver you can find him on twitter at @OliverCheruiyot.