Archive for the ‘Sanitation’ Category

Karen – From Grace to Grass

Written by Sande Dengal,
Edited by Gloria Auma N.

Karen is one of the much sought after leafy suburbs of Nairobi, being rivaled only by areas like Muthaiga and Runda. The Nairobi residents of this upmarket area have enjoyed its quiet and serene environment for quite a long time.

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Taxis lined up waiting for customers at the Karen Shopping Center outside a makeshift extension to a building.

The Karen suburb is located within the Northern Nairobi area and got its name from renown Baroness – Karen Christenze von Blixen –Finecke, a Danish author (17.04.1885 –07.09.1962) who lived in the area from 1914 to 1931. She is best known for her book ‘Out of Africa’, which is an account of her life while in Kenya. The book was adopted into an Academy Award winning film. She also established the Karen Coffee Company.

Karen is a low-density, single-dimensional development area, characterised by large residential subdivisions, very good amenities and lower crime rates. Over the years it has been home to both wealthy and prominent people in Kenyan society.

In the recent past, however, it has attracted many a good number of people seeking to settle within its bounds. This has led to a high demand for, and establishment of shopping malls around the area. This pits the benefits to individuals against broader social and environmental concerns.

Karen Shopping Center  is located at a-round-about serving both Ngong Road and d and Langata Road. In many situations, strip or ribbon development takes place when extensive commercial development occurs in a linear pattern along both sides of major arterial roadways. Like other aspects of urban sprawl, it is viewed as ugly and as a cause of traffic congestion caused by old matatus parked on both sides of the road, mushrooming roadside kiosks, people trading second hand cloths, stagnant water in non functional drainage systems as well as  a constant barrage of disorderly foot traffic from shoppers and workers entering and exiting the street.

“This aspect of urban sprawl has led to the insecurity of the area.” Said Ronald Musengi, a Commissioner at the National Police Service Commission and a long time resident of Karen.  

The 2014 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects UN report says rapid urbanisation brings opportunities for governments to improve access to important services. “Providing public transportation, as well as housing, electricity, water and sanitation for a densely settled population is typically cheaper and less environmentally damaging than providing a similar level of services to a predominantly rural household,” it says.

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Mushrooming commercial establishments have increased the foot traffic along the Karen roads.

The residents of Karen acknowledge that growth is inevitable but are asking the Nairobi City County government to intervene. The residents would like the government to address the situation by expansion of available facilities to cater to the new populations and have Karen reclaim its former glory. Would Nairobi City County take up the request and embrace this evident opportunity to improve access to the important services – public transportation, water and sanitation for the shopping center?

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Sun & Sand of Mombasa City

Mombasa Island

Mombasa City

Mombasa, Kenya 

Mombasa is the second largest City in Kenya. This is the sea city that lies next to the Indian Ocean with a major Port and an International Airport.  Its name derives from Manbasa, the Arabic name of the former sultan of Mvita, which had its capital here.  In modern times the City is the headquarters of Coast Province and with new constitution, it is the capital of Mombasa County.

The City is located on Mombasa Island which is separated from the mainland by two creeks: Tudor Creek and Kilindini Harbour. The island is connected to the mainland to the north by the Nyali Bridge, to the south by the Likoni Ferry and to the west by the Makupa Causeway, alongside which runs the Kenya-Uganda Railway.  The Port serves both Kenya and landlocked countries, linking them to the Indian  Ocean.

The City also serves as the center of the coastal tourism industry. Being in the tropical climate which is tropic wet and dry climate, it favors tourism. Therefore, this makes the city a major world’s destination and among premier places to visit in Africa. It has attracted visitors since 900A.D such as Arab traders and Portuguese traveler – Vasco da Gama who came in 1498.

Sunshine is throughout the year. Landing at the coast for a holiday you are taken to task with coastal heat. You may shower more than thrice which is not a mistake. Mombasa it completes your tour to Kenya if you are on vacation. The sandy beaches to North and South, historic sites such as Fort Jesus and luxurious hotels – why leave Mombasa. Whether day or night you are fascinated by breath-taking, eye-satisfying scenes and relaxing environment.

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