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Time Flies

And just like that, we hit three years. Time really does fly. It’s really been three years.

We’ve explored a ton, but we still want to see more of Kenya and of Africa. We’ve learned a lot, and are still learning something new almost every day. We’ve made great friends and keep making more. The journey has been great so far and I’m excited to say that it will continue.

We’ve just signed on for another two years. Here’s looking forward to more adventure!

Coffee!

It’s hard, damned near impossible, to find good coffee in Nairobi. I had heard that Spring Valley Coffee was good. However, I never made it there because getting in and out of that shopping center (on Lower Kabete Road, same center as the Total Station) is a nightmare. Well, now, everything changed.

They’ve opened a shop in the new food court area of Village Market. Now, it’s easy for me to get good coffee, including whole or freshly ground beans. It’s a big improvement in the quality of our life!

If you’re not near Village Market or Spring Valley, then I am sorry. You will have to make do. If there are other places for great coffee (Wasp & Sprout is nice but the coffee doesn’t compare to Spring Valley Coffee) please put that information into the comments!

WAPI? Box

Wapi means where in Swahili. In Nairobi, you’ll hear a lot of, “iko wapi…?” Translated to English, this means, “where is…”—insert whatever the person is looking for. WAPI Box, however, is all about “where” in a good way. It’s about where to get cool stuff that is local.

The company, WAPI?, puts it best:

Nairobi is full of hidden treasures. WAPI? enables you to discover the best of what your city has to offer, connecting you with local businesses, artisans and initiatives which meet your needs and interests.

WAPI? works with local businesses, artisans and initiatives to increase their visibility, reach and impact. WAPI? provides a range of options to help you find local, authentic, meaningful products and experiences, according to your needs and interests, away from the dining, shopping and social experiences offered by go-to malls.

The way it works is quite simple. Much like monthly boxes you can subscribe to in the U.S., WAPI? Box lets you sign up for a three-, six-, or twelve-month subscription or you can order month by month.

I ordered my first box in May and it was delivered to my door, no problem. I loved what I got. This included some dried mango, a necklace, soap, hand cream, and some cool little patches to put onto denim.

I highly recommend WAPI? if you’re interested in local, artisan items. You can buy one box just to give it a try.

 

Review: greenspoon

One of the things I miss about life in New York is the convenience of things. You can walk to most places. You have public transportation for when you can’t walk. And you can order in just about anything.

In many parts of Nairobi, delivery is an option. For me, on the edge of the city, it’s not easy. So, I’m really happy when I find someone or someplace that can deliver to me. Enter greenspoon, my latest find!

Greenspoon is an online grocery and beer/wine seller. You simply go online, pick what you want, pay (various types of mobile money (I use Mpesa), Visa, or MasterCard), and then your items are delivered to you. You get it the next day if you order before 3pm. It’s that easy!

They sell a wide variety of items. Everything is from artisan producers and local farmers. Not everything is always in stock—but that’s part of the deal when you’re shopping from artisan producers, plus the site is well designed and it’s clear when things are out of stock.

If you’re in Nairobi and want to get great food brought right to your doorstep, check out greenspoon.

 

Kazuri Beads & Pottery

Kazuri means “small and beautiful” in Swahili. Kazuri Beads and Pottery is a bead and pottery company based in Karen (with several shops in Nairobi). They make amazing ceramic products that they sell locally as well as internationally.

They started out in 1975 with the founder and two single mothers. The business grew as they discovered there were many other women in villages around Nairobi who needed employment. Today, they employ over 340 people (mostly women). I was intrigued by their story so I went to check out their main shop and factory, which is located on what used to be part of Karen Blixen’s estate.

I got there in the morning and was the first “tourist” to arrive, so I got a personal tour! Here is some video from that tour:

It was great to see everything from how they prep the clay (which they get from Mount Kenya), to how they make the pottery and how they make each bead. I should have taken notes so I could describe every detail. Instead, I can give you a few photos of what I saw.

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Out of the kiln after glazing

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Glazed and ready for the kiln

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After the initial firing

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Molds for the beads

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Hand painting the beads

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Kilns for the beads

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Quality control for each order

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Hand painting the ceramics

If you’re interested in checking out the factory, they are on Mbagathi Ridge, Karen-Nairobi.

Phone: +254 (20) 2328905/6 / +254 720 953298

Email: info@kazuri.co.ke